Election Manifestos: ‘Cut Through’ on Potholes, but More Commitment to Motorcycling Needed

An incoming administration needs to develop a longer term strategy for motorcycling

June 14, 2024

Now that the manifestos of the main political parties have been published, the National Motorcyclists Council (NMC) has looked at how the parties measure up when it comes to their commitments in motorcycling related areas.

One positive and welcome area is potholes. All the main parties have recognised the issue and have committed to tackle the scourge of potholes. The campaign the NMC waged both on its own and as part of the cross road users sector ‘Pothole Partnership’ has achieved genuine ‘cut through’ in political terms, with varying levels of commitment from the parties. This is the first time that a key motorcycling issue has been reflected in party manifestos and provides a good basis on which the Council can work with the post-election administration to develop sustainable long-term solutions to the problem.

However, in other motorcycling areas, much more needs to be committed by an incoming administration. The Conservative manifesto is the only one with specific motorcycling pledges, with commitments on default motorcycle access to bus lanes and a review of motorcycle licensing, testing and training. This reflects ongoing current work with DfT officials and whoever wins the election, the NMC will be urging Ministers to continue this essential work. Labour have announced a comprehensive road safety strategy in their ‘Plan for Drivers’. This is also welcomed, given ongoing concerns about motorcycle safety, with motorcyclists continuing to face disproportionately high levels of risk when riding on the UK's road network.  It is also important the Labour’s ‘Plan’ is not just designed for ‘Drivers’.  

Unfortunately, no political party has recognised the wider benefits of motorcycling to individuals, society and the economy and there is little indication of how the Parties view issues relating to motorcycle-specific decarbonisation, Green Roads access, motorcycle sport and historic vehicles. However, some announcements on transport in general do mention areas of individual NMC member interest, such as 20mph limits, electric charge points, smart motorways, ULEZ and insurance.

NMC Executive Director Craig Carey-Clinch said: “Manifestos are by necessity a broad based ‘shop window’ for political parties, so in that sense, the consensus that has emerged around the need to tackle potholes is very welcome. Also welcome are issues related to bus lanes, licensing, road safety and other areas which have been mentioned. It’s clear from these that the NMC’s work is impacting positively on the overall political narrative. But given the growing importance of powered two wheeled transport and the range of opportunities that motorcycling  - and also other Powered Light Vehicle types - offers to overall transport policy, it is unfortunate that no political party has mentioned these as part of their headline transport policy priorities. Issues relating to micro mobility are also overlooked.

“However, manifestos and detailed transport policy priorities are two very different things, with the latter developed once an administration has been elected. The NMC is looking forward to working with the incoming administration on developing motorcycle specific policies. Our message to the successful party on July 4th, is to not rip up previous departmental work and start again – particularly on bus lanes and licensing, but to pick up this work, improve upon it and make positive announcements in these areas. This work must also include a commitment to develop a new strategy for motorcycling.”

Motorcyclists are urged to contact their local election candidates to seek their support for motorcycling, with full resources and the NMC’s ‘Motorcycling Matters’ manifesto available here: https://motorcyclingmatters.co.uk/call-to-action/ .


Notes to Editors

1. For further comment from the NMC please contact Craig Carey-Clinch, on 07979 757484 / craig@uknmc.org

2. Round up of Commitments


1. Support local authorities to fill in up to 1 million potholes per year, improving the state of local roads and preventing the damage to vehicles that is costing drivers hundreds of pounds through repairs and higher insurance costs.

2. Tackle soaring car insurance costs by fixing local roads and cracking down on the rip-off practices that are hammering drivers across the country.

3. Break down planning barriers to ensure vital upgrades to roads are delivered on time and to budget.

4. Reduce the traffic clogging up roads, with a plan to improve the woeful state of public transport by taking back control of rail and bus services and grow Britain’s rail freight industry.

5. Accelerate the electric vehicle charge-point rollout to give drivers confidence no matter what type of vehicle they drive.

6. Deliver a comprehensive new road-safety strategy, to bring down tragic injuries and deaths on Britain’s roads.


2. We will allow motorcycles in all bus lanes and reform motorcycle licensing.

3. Stop road pricing. A Conservative Government will not introduce pay per mile road pricing and will ban Mayors and local councils from doing so.

4. Reverse Labour’s unfair ULEZ expansion in London.

5. Rule out top-down blanket Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and 20mph zones. We are clear they must only be considered on a road-by-road basis and with the support of people who live there.

6. We remain steadfastly committed to road safety and, to that end, will maintain our pledge to build no new smart motorways and invest in improving the safety of existing ones.

Liberal  Democrats:

1. Make it cheaper and easier for drivers to switch to electric vehicles by rapidly rolling out far more charging points, reintroducing the plug-in car grant, and restoring the requirement that every new car and small van sold from 2030 is zero-emission.

2. Transform how people travel by creating new cycling and walking networks with a new nationwide active travel strategy.

3. Give more of the roads budget to local councils to maintain existing roads, pavements and cycleways, including repairing potholes.

4. Make it easy and cheap to charge electric vehicles by:

a. Rolling out far more charging points, including residential on-street points and ultra-fast chargers at service stations.

b. Supporting new charging points with an upgraded National Grid and a step-change in local grid capacity.

c. Cutting VAT on public charging to 5%.

d. Requiring all charging points to be accessible with a bank card.

5. Protect motorists from rip-offs, including unfair insurance and petrol prices.

(Photo Unsplash Red-Dot)