Thursday 14 May
The country’s four largest motorcycling organisations, Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), Vintage Motorcycle Club (VMCC), The Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF) and The British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF) have today jointly submited “Riding COVID safe” White Paper to Secretary of State, Grant Shapps and each of the three devolved administrations.
The coalition of organisations is calling for the Government to fully take the role of motorcycling into account as the UK continues to deal with the Covid19 crisis and afterwards. The coalition also sets out the case for a Government supported code of guidance for maintaining social distancing for motorcycling in the present situation.
The coalition of organisations consists of the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), Vintage Motorcycle Club (VMCC), the Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF) and The British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF).
The white paper:
• Reviews ways in which the crisis is affecting motorcycle riding.
• Discusses the conditions under which motorcyclists can continue to ride safely by fully observing social distancing and other necessary public health measures in line with the Government’s restrictions in the current COVID 19 Alert Level phase of the crisis.
• Sets out the case for a simple, universal and Government-supported code of guidance for maintaining social distancing for riding in the present phase (see below).
• Sets the scene for review and discussion with the Government about how restrictions affecting motorcycling (rallies, biker meets, tourism, sport, etc.) can gradually be lifted as the Country enters future lockdown phases.
• Makes the case for encouraging the use of motorcycles as well as walking and cycling during the crisis exit strategy and beyond.
• Opens the discussion on policy proposals that could help encourage greater take-up of motorcycling by commuters, enabling individuals to avoid public transport in line with Government guidance.
The coalition are urgently seeking discussions with the Government to refine, develop and promulgate our draft proposals. Additionally, we ask the APPG for Motorcycling to support this white paper and our call to open formal stakeholder consultation between the relevant Government departments and advisory bodies, and ourselves as representatives of the 1.25 million motorcyclists in the UK.
In summary, the current advice is:
● As lockdown measures are eased, whether you ride for essential reasons or just for recreation, observe social distancing and good hygiene measures at all times to help halt transmission of the virus.
● Ride alone or with at most one other person, other than members of your own household.
● Stop well away from other people. Take food and drink etc with you.
● Be COVID-safe at fuel stops.
● Do not gather in crowds.
● Know what COVID safety kit you are going to take with you and use it sensibly.
● Plan your route so you can always return home safely the same day.
● Know how you are going to deal safely with any emergencies.
● Do not ride at all if you or members of your household have symptoms and need to self-isolate.
● Think carefully about the risks if you are over 70 or have a pre-existing condition.
● Don't damage the image of motorcycling in the lockdown by riding irresponsibly.
● Be aware that at present the guidelines for leaving the house for other than essential reasons may be different in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
VMCC Chair Bob Clark said: “The VMCC is the UK's largest motorcycle club, although the average age of our membership is nearly seventy. Our members are thus perhaps more concerned with adherence to the guidelines than may be the case with other segments of the population. However, for us motorcycling is more than transport, and is often the physical and mental exercise essential for our members' wellbeing. The VMCC seeks confirmation that those of our members who are fit and healthy can both remain within the law and enjoy the motorcycling that is their chosen form of exercise.”
BMF Chair, Jim Freeman commented, “The time has come for the motorcycle to shine as a serious urban alternative to public transport, cycling and walking. For many, the typical public transport journey is too far to be walked or cycled. The car takes up far too much road and parking space.”
MAG Chair Selina Lavender said: “A new transport normal can only be achieved by consensus of all road user groups. We look forward to consulting with the Government to ensure that motorcycles are given their rightful position in that new normal.”
TRF Chair, Mario Costa-Sa commented: “The TRF Code of Conduct provides a key role in training trail and adventure riders and compliance with COVID guidance is no exception. Trail Riders want clarity; they look to us as leaders of the largest motorcycle groups to interpret and communicate the Government's public message."
You can download the white paper here.
TRF Statement Monday 11 May
In the past week we have worked with the leaders of the UK’s principal motorcycle organisations to ensure that the needs of over one million motorcyclists are considered during lockdown exit plans.
Sports scientists in the UK have played a lead role in demonstrating the value leisure motorcycling has as a form of exercise beneficial to both physical fitness and mental wellbeing. Accordingly, motorcycling is recognised as a sport by Sport England and the Sports Council.
Maintaining restrictions on motorcycling without good reason will unduly affect millions of people over the next few weeks, including both the well-being of riders and the £7.8bn* UK motorcycle economy currently at a standstill.
When safe to do so, we seek the same explicit freedom to enjoy travel for leisure and exercise purposes as walkers, cyclists and car drivers providing social distancing measures are met. We understand motorcycling to be an inherently socially distanced activity.
Motorcycling’s role in lockdown exit was be discussed during a video call between principal organisations today.
This afternoon the Prime Minister published a "Plan to rebuild" for the next stage in combating the virus before engaging in a one-hour discussion with MPs.
We will publish a further bulletin once specific guidance has been obtained from the Government’s document and look forward to making a joint response with the UK’s principal motorcycling organisations as lockdown measures are eased.
We fully support ongoing action to prevent transmission of the virus.
Whilst the TRF respects the right to individual liberty, we have a duty to fully support the latest government guidelines to not leave the house unless necessary.
You should only leave the house for one of four reasons:
Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household.
Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.
Should a member in any doubt please see the latest government guidelines
Without wishing to cause any further frustration whilst you are responsibly choosing not to ride, here are some links to a number of channels and sites to while away the hours.
Most of us would like to have better fitness on the bike. Why not use the down time from trail riding to improve your fitness? We appreciate we can’t go to the gym or may not have specialist equipment laying around the house, but you can improvise! Dust off that mountain bike and get a little fix of the rough stuff!
In recent years the TRF has transformed our approach toward the community, from defending our entitlement to working with authorities, other user groups and local communities demonstrate our value.
Here are some of the ways you could help
If you know of anyone organising civil response schemes please send them this linkThe TRF work with the Emergency Services to promote responsible trail riding which has the TRFs proposal for the use of Dual Purpose Motorcycles (Trail Motorcycles) in Disaster Response.
If you are concerned that your car or bikes existing MoT may be close to expiring, this recent announcement from the government means you need not worry.
We realise that our members and their families are likely to be affected financially at this difficult time. MoneySavingExpert has produced a set of tips 14 coronavirus money & travel need-to-knows.
The TRF has always recognised the importance of supporting local communities and this is even more important at this difficult time. Groups could offer additional support to;
- Local Community Centres
- NHS Volunteer schemes
- Social care teams at local councils
- Local farming groups
- Support for community policing initiatives
If you have first aid qualifications, you may be able to offer your support to any civil response units that are created locally.
website for the latest advice