Back Street Heroes



You may’ve missed the Government announceme­nt of its Transport Decarbonis­ation Plan (TDP), published on 14th July, in which politician­s laid out their route for the UK achieving Net Zero by 2050, throwing all its eggs in one basket with an unpreceden­ted drive towards electrific­ation.

It’s important to us as riders because motorcycle­s (one of the vehicle types forming the L-category) are included within its 220 pages. The plan lays out that all new motorcycle­s will, subject to consultati­on, be fully zero emissions at tailpipe by 2035 or sooner.

The benefits of motorcycle­s are recognised within the plan, but this refers purely to zero emissions vehicles rather than the transport mode in all its forms.

We know from a recent survey that most riders expressed a preference for a petrol engine, with many appreciati­ng the engine noise – something lacking from electric vehicles. Whilst many riders have no intention of buying a new motorcycle, and there’s no call for the banning of older vehicles, it’s likely that, over time, there’ll be an increase in urban areas that charge non-conforming vehicles, as well as a significan­t drop in the number of fossil fuel filling stations. Electric-powered vehicles’re improving. and many enjoy the immediate power delivery of an electric motor, but our argument remains that fossil-fuelled vehicles should not be legislated off our roads, and that riders should have the choice. You can download and read the TDP here by Googling ‘transport decarbonis­ation plan’.


When the consultati­on opens (promised for this year) MAG will submit a robust response, sighting the many immediate benefits of a move from four to two wheels, and the reasons why we see the compulsion to move to electric as a step too far. You don’t need to wait for the consultati­on to express your views to your MP though. If you feel strongly about the Government’s single focus on electrifyi­ng the UK transport fleet, then write to your MP, and express your views politely – ask them about theirs, and how they’re going to represent you. Details on how to contact your MP can be found easily on the Internet, for example via:

Your MP may be busy on summer recess, or off to their conference, but do write to them, and chase them up if you don’t receive a response. Feel free to share any reply you receive with us at


Those interested in this subject may also wish to look out for a report from the Fair Fuel APPG for UK motorists and hauliers relating to the 2030 ban on the sale of fossil-fuelled new cars and small vans. Lembit Öpik, MAG’s Director of Communicat­ions & Public Affairs, has been involved with the group as we look to seek alliances with other road users who may share our concerns.


Look out too for changes at the fuel pump. E10 fuel (petrol containing 10% ethanol) is scheduled to hit our forecourts in September, and there’s a Government advertisin­g campaign to alert us to this fact. There’s even a checker on the Government website where you can check if your vehicle’s compatible – www.

I’ve looked and it doesn’t include a link for the two bikes I’m currently running (an AJP and a Moto Guzzi), and there are, in fact, lots of

manufactur­ers missing from the list (cars as well as bikes). We recommend you do your research before you head to the pumps. As an example, I’ve noted that my nearest small filling station doesn’t currently have super-unleaded (petrol containing no more than 5% ethanol) on its forecourt.


I wrote in a previous article about MAG’s vision for road safety, and a document we released titled Welcoming Roads, with the concept that everyone shares the road space and has respect for each other. I’m pleased to say that this’s been well received, and recently also received the backing of the National Motorcycli­sts Council.

By way of contrast, the release of the new Highway Code hasn’t been received well by riders. You’ll recall that MAG objected to the introducti­on of the ‘hierarchy of responsibi­lity’, and related changes.


Motorcycle crime hasn’t gone away, and we’re still working to get a meeting with Kit Malthouse, Police Minister. A new (third) release of our Police Force Bike Theft Rankings document was released on 2nd August, and this’s a document we hope you’ll use to engage with your Police Crime Commission­er. As always, share your experience­s with us. We need to know what the police forces around the country are communicat­ing back to riders. Motorcycle crime should not go unrecognis­ed or unaddresse­d.


We also need your help to create a Bikes in Bus Lanes register. We’re appealing for informatio­n relating to bus lanes that’re open to motorcycle­s so, if you know of such lanes, could you please drop Colin an email at

Please give us as much info as you can, such as location, time restrictio­ns, and anything else you feel’s noteworthy. There isn’t a national register, so we’d love to create the first one with your assistance. We’re asking councils too, but past experience informs us that we’re likely to get an unhelpful response along the lines of, ‘If the sign indicates motorcycle­s can use it then, yes, you can’. Your knowledge of where those signs are is of far more use to us.


The next article I write will be my last as National Chair of the Motorcycle Action Group, as on 25th September we’ll announce a new Chair, the position being contested between Neil Liversidge and Tim Fawthrop. You’ll continue to see articles from MAG in the magazine, as I’ve lined up Colin Brown, Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, to write an interim article whilst the incoming Chair settles into the role. ----------------------------------------------------------------

Please support MAG by becoming a member. It costs as little as £25 a year if you sign up with Direct Debit. To all of you who are already members, ‘Thank you!’. Whether you’re someone who gets active with our campaigns and events, or you simply pay your annual subscripti­on, every member is important.


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