Memorandum by the Motor Cycle Industry
Association (RTS 41)
THE NATURE AND EFFECTS OF ILLEGAL AND INAPPROPRIATE
ROAD TRAFFIC SPEED IN THE UK
MCI welcomes The Transport, Local Government
and the Regions Committee's decision to undertake an inquiry into
the nature and effects of illegal and inappropriate road traffic
speed in the UK.
MCI has long recognised that illegal and inappropriate
road speeds have been the cause of accidents and deaths on UK
roads and has actively worked with successive Governments to promote
safety for motorcyclists and other road users. However, to ensure
they are obeyed, speed limits must be realistic, enforceable and
The use of motorcycles over recent years has
changed considerably. What was originally considered, and still
is, an inexpensive mode of transport has, in recent years, also
become a recreational pursuit enjoyed by people from professional
classes and backgrounds. The age of riders has changed with that
of the general population to one which reflects an older following,
increasingly over 30 years of age. This new phenomenon of motorcycle
ownership has resulted in the media labelling certain riders in
the category as "born again bikers". In addition there
has been substantial growth in the sales of Mopeds during the
last few years as a congestion busting solution to transport in
urban areas. As the sales of motorcycles have continually dramatically
increased in recent years the MCI has developed a detailed tailored
advanced motorcycling programme to promote safety expertise, and
advanced motorcycling, "The Edge".
The role of illegal and inappropriate speed
in respect of:
causing crashes, and the severity of accidents;
reducing the quality of life in urban areas; and the consequences
of illegal and inappropriate speed for urban design.
Tackling the issues surrounding inappropriate
and illegal use of speed is a finely tuned balance between:
MCI has traditionally adopted a multi-agency
and lifelong learning approach to road user education working
in conjunction with the Police Service, youth organisations and
motorcycling community in promoting BikeSafe 2000, The Edge, First
Gear on Two wheels, and providing resources and expertise for
the Driving Standards Agency. The Police Service and Road Safety
groups have traditionally taken the lead in this area and it is
essential to pursue knowledge, skills and attitudes amongst road
users as the fundamental means of ensuring awareness of speeds
issues. MCI urges further support and expansion of youth projects
with the existing Motor Vehicle and Road User Studies GCSE and
road use materials for personal, moral, health and social education
better incorporated into the national curriculum. There is further
scope for more effective guidance for car drivers promoting better
driver awareness. MCI also provides support for UK Youth and was
instrumental in the development of the motorcycle elements of
the "Momentum" programme. This programme delivers a
package of education to young people through motor projects aimed
at reinforcing messages about responsible road use.
The engineering route to managing speed is a
drain on police and local authority resources and is very expensive
and time consuming. It is primarily the role for Local Highway
Authorities to ensure that driver information, speed-control humps
etc are used to manage speed on roads. The result is that this
process can be variable from one local authority to another depending
upon the consultation approach undertaken. Under current guidelines
Local Authorities must consult with local groups, however this
consultation process sometimes leads to distorted policies on
speed. E.g on some trunk roads upon which there has been an extensive
local lobby, it has been suggested that speeds have been inappropriately
lowered, resulting in additional driver time, loss of concentration
and frustration. However, it is crucial that there is not detraction
from the consultation process with the local community as, for
example, policies appropriate in Central London may not always
be appropriate for other areas.
MCI would welcome a more co-ordinated approach
by Local Authorities, based on widespread consultation with Transport
The last resort for the management of speed
is the police, with whom the MCI work closely alongside through
the delivery of The Edge programme.
The extent to which the problems associated
with speed should be tackled by:
better enforcement; road re-design and traffic
calming; road re-classification; physical measures to separate
vulnerable road users from vehicles and each other (eg barriers);
technology (eg through driver assistance and car designs which
promote pedestrian protection); education to improve drivers'
and motor cyclists' behaviour and pedestrian and cyclist awareness;
changes to speed limits; and what specific policies should be
The MCI has taken proactive steps with a variety
of partners to ensure that its consumers become safer and more
advanced motorcyclists. It would further welcome and support consultation
to ensure that there is an effective separation between the motorist
and other vulnerable road users.
In addition the MCI would further welcome moves
to ensure that at a Local authority level there is:
Clearer, consistently applied and
appropriately maintained signage.
Effective positioning of signage.
Consistent highways engineering standards.
Correctly spaced signage at junctions.
Appropriately evaluated speed limits.
Effectively maintained roads.
All of these enable Motorcyclists and motorists
to reach higher levels of safety on the roads.
The extent to which the problems associated
with speed should be tackled by: education to improve drivers'
and motor cyclists' behaviour and pedestrian and cyclist awareness.
In addition to encouraging a lifelong learning
process towards motor studies the MCI supports two distinct programmes
in conjunction with the police to improve the development of motorcycle
rider skillsBikeSafe and the Edge.
The BikeSafe 2000 initiative is a nation-wide
plan of action to reduce the number of motorcycle accident casualties
by promoting safer riding. BikeSafe, a multi-agency development,
is an innovative policing strategy aimed at raising motorcycle
riding standards and reducing rider casualties among a targeted
group, in a managed and cost effective way.
There is a ten-point strategy to the campaign:
1. Multi-Agency Approach.
2. Motorcyclist Involvement including "Observed
5. Raised Awareness of Potential Dangers.
6. Highlight Importance of post test training.
7. Raise Motorist awareness to "Think
8. Enforcement of speed limits.
9. Enforcement to counter dangerous and careless
10. Education and advice on security of motorcycles
and regular checks for stolen machines and parts.
The campaign focuses on taking BikeSafe 2000
displays, to venues popular with motorcyclists or inviting riders
to attend seminars. Police motorcyclists mix with the motorcyclists
offering advice on machine maintenance and roadcraft. Riders are
able to have their riding assessed by police and other advanced
motorcyclists who observe their riding over road routes.
Every rider receives positive feedback and encouragement
to take up advanced training with either the Institute of Advanced
Motorists, RoSPA or professional trainers in the private sector
or to visit a "rider skill shop" co-ordinated by the
Since the project started in April 1997 thousands
have taken part in Assessment Rides.
Complementing the education element of the project
is the targeted enforcement of speed limits and dangerous and
careless riding. This is achieved by the use of marked and unmarked
cars and motorcycles equipped with speed detection technology
BikeSafe 2000, introduced in North Yorkshire
in 1997 was awarded a coveted Prince Michael Road Safety Award
for its achievements and originality in raising road safety awareness.
Following North Yorkshire's introduction of
BikeSafe results showed a reduction in killed and seriously injured
motorcyclists of 15 per cent 1996-97 and ten per cent 1997-98
despite substantial increase in motorcycle sales, especially of
Where implemented along the lines of the original
North Yorkshire model, BikeSafe demonstrates the strength and
successes of the multi agency education approach to tackle problems
such as speed.
Developed and supported by the MCI The Edge
provides riders with the opportunity to undertake a motorcycling
assessment to hone individuals motorcycling skills beyond the
standard required to gain a full licence.
Successfull completion of the assessment enables
the rider to gain a series of benefits under industry negotiated
deals, including substantial discounts on insurance, deals on
goods, services and exclusive access to top biking events.
The aim of this industry led initiative is to
promote the advanced safer motorcycling within its consumer base.
The assessment based around six key aspects
of expert motorcycling.
Scene of Accident Management.
Other Road Users
Other Vehicle Users
MCI recognises that a longer-term re-education
is necessary and is encouraging youth clubs, local authorities,
schools and colleges to adopt motor vehicle and road user studies
through initiatives, including a GCSE curriculum and various youth
projects with emphasis on road skills as continuing education
via The Edge. See Annex for Further Details.
MCI specifically aims to have the GCSE course
in Motor Vehicle and Road User Studies adopted as a commonly available
subject. This will:
Stimulate an interest in and appreciation
of the motor vehicle.
Develop an understanding of the legal
liabilities of being a road user.
Develop a knowledge and understanding
of the responsibilities of vehicle ownership.
Promote a positive and understanding
attitude to the use of the road and other road users.
Develop an awareness of the interaction
of the road user, environment and vehicle.
Develop an understanding of the mathematical,
scientific and technical properties related to motor vehicles.
Develop a knowledge and understanding
of routine vehicle maintenance.
Develop a range of manipulative and
communicative skills appropriate to the subject.
Originally launched as a car based initiative
in November 1995, a motorcycle specific version, "First Gear
On Two Wheels" was launched in November 1999 as the result
of an active partnership between MCI and the national charity
UK Youth. Both Schemes now come under UK Youth's "Momentum"
banner. The "On Two Wheels" aspect of Momentum is a
pre-learner rider programme aimed at young people between 14 and
17 who are participating taking formal driving or riding tuition
within two years of undertaking the course. It offers three key
components: Behind the Handlebars, Under the Petrol Tank and In
the Mind. These together aim to:
Challenge young peoples attitudes
towards vehicles of all kinds, vehicle ownership and vehicle use.
Provide participants with the correct
information to help them become safe and responsible road users.
Create an opportunity for participants
to acquire the basic skills of riding and Powered Two Wheeler
The programme is run over a minimum of thirty
hours and uses the combined skills of a youth worker, qualified
driving instructor and experienced mechanic.
UK Youth manages "Momentum" by (a)
national co-ordination and development, (b) development, publication
and distribution of materials and resources, (c) providing Training
and (d) national events and supports local associations as agents.
To what extent are relevant bodies taking the
Whether local authorities, DTLR, the Highways
agency, the police and Home Office are providing a co-ordinated
approach to speed management, and what they should do.
MCI works in close partnership with the DTLR,
and supports and welcomes new co-ordinated approaches to speed
management, as well as appropriate consultation and review. However,
Whether motor manufacturers, the national press,
TV programmes about motoring and advertisers have shown an appropriate
attitude to speed, and how they should change the role of speed
The MCI has always taken a responsible attitude
to speed management by ensuring that it has created opportunities
for riders to develop their road riding skills beyond test standard
and provide off-road opportunities for more challenging motorcycling.
Some motorcycle manufacturers also offer bike safety schemes,
such as the Honda Motorcycle Appreciation Course.
A Code of Practice for the Motorcycle Industry
was drawn up in 1984 in consultation with the Director General
of Fair Trading. This governs the conduct of motorcycle manufacturers
and dealers to standards as set by the Advertising Standards Authority
and the relevant broadcasting authorities.
MCI has been disappointed, however with the
negative portrayal of motorcycling by the media, particularly
the broadcast media which portrays irresponsible, dangerous and
illegal use of motorcycling.
We feel that this irresponsible attitude often
encourages risk taking and danger on roads and that the media
need to take a more responsible attitude to its portrayal of dangerous
road use. It is essential that future policy supports initiatives
aimed at raising road-user skills and awareness and to encourage
a better road environment for riders to operate in.