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Motorcycle Association Calls on Lords to Prevent Off-Road Motorcycling Disaster - November 4th 2005

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    In advance of the Second reading of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Bill the Motor Cycle Industry (MCI) has today written to very member of the House of Lords to try and prevent a catastrophe to off-road motorcycle activity.

    The Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Bill that received its third reading in the House of Commons last week proposes the removal of vehicular access from any existing public Right of Way (RoW), if access to that RoW is not already recorded on a county's definitive map and statement as a 'Byway Open to all Traffic' (BOAT).

    Parliament has already made the decision to drastically reduce motorised use of Britain's unsurfaced road network. If this unwelcome legislation is approved by the Lords it will result in all motor vehicles including trail bikes and cars being banned from large numbers of 'green lanes', on the meagre five percent of England and Wales public rights of way that can currently be used.

    The Government has caved in to pressure led by extremist ramblers who already have exclusive use of 95% of rights of way. They have gained seven percent of the country under the newly granted Right to Roam law and they continue to seek to extend their rights of access to all our coastline.

    The proposed legislation will have a limited effect on the perceived problem of illegal and noisy motorcycling and if it is passed it will only have a negative effect on the law-abiding people who responsibly enjoy our countryside.

    MCI's Craig Carey-Clinch said; " The new law demonstrates a lack of respect for the law-abiding motorcyclist and will mainly serve to penalise and criminalise many because of the inappropriate and irresponsible behaviour of a few.

    "Illegal use will continue, and use of the remaining legitimate routes will increase until they are saturated. Other routes will become fragmented and the character of them will change. The very character of our ancient RoW network is reliant on vehicular use which helps to keep them open and of a suitable width. Ramblers can only create footpaths, vehicle use preserves the historic appearance of RoWs and stops them from becoming overgrown and inaccessible.

    "This is another example of intolerance towards minority interests. Problems have been exaggerated, attempts to enter meaningful dialogue have been rebuffed and alternative strategies rejected. The rambler and environmental lobby has weaved blatant dislike and an intolerance of alternative lifestyles into the language of reason, in a successful attempt to present a case which is out of proportion to the real problem. The voice of reasonable and co-operative users is drowned out."