A thousand Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) members and supporters rode in convoy through Birmingham on Saturday as part of the group's on-going campaign to overcome the 3rd European Licensing Directive.
MAG fears the draconian new regulations will deal a death blow to the future of motorcycling by discouraging newcomers from taking up riding without any of the benefits to motorcycle safety it purports to achieve.
MAG's Director of Public Affairs described the proposals as, "beyond the pale" offering nothing but the defeatist solution of getting rid of motorcyclists in a vain attempt to cut motorcycle accidents. Adding that, "MAG plays a big part in the safety debate but has suffered too long the biased attack of the safety lobby and enough is enough."
In an endeavour to put road safety into a proper perspective MAG President Ian Mutch said, "road safety is not the biggest issue, the environment is and by prejudicing environmental safety in return for road safety the architects of this legislation are threatening the future of our children and our children's children."
Ian Mutch described the EU officials behind the motorcycling elements of the Directive as "grossly irresponsible." Warning of a huge modal shift from motorcycles to cars if the directive is adopted as currently drafted, Mutch emphasised the environmental impact that would have.
The meeting was also addressed by West Midlands MEP Mr Philip Bradbourn OBE who supports MAG's stance on the directive. Mr Bradbourn's support is particularly significant as he sits on the EU Committee for Transport and Tourism and has been gathering support from other MEPs for the withdrawal of the motorcycling part of the licensing directive.
Motorcycling is not just about getting from A to B or a congestion beating means of transport nor is MAG all about gaining access to bus lanes, advanced stop lines, secure parking and safety. Motorcycling is a way of life with an open and varied community with a sense of freedom that legislators will never understand.
MAG is encouraging all riders to contact their MEP asking them to support Mr Bradbourns efforts and sign the MAG petition at www.mag-uk.org.