The RAC Foundation has joined forces with groups from all walks of life, including the Motor Cycle Industry Association; the National Farmers Union; the Motor Sports Association; the Land Access and Recreation Association; and the Auto Cycle Union, to lobby against a Private Members Bill which seeks to force all off-road motorcycles and quad bikes to be registered and carry number plates.
Graham Stringer MP has proposed this Bill in order to tackle the anti-social use of motorcycles, mainly by young people, in public places such as parks. While no-one is trying to minimise the levels of concern felt by the public about illegal motorcycling, experts including many police forces have argued that the problem is already covered under existing laws.
The campaigners are questioning whether asking MPs to make a new law, so that something already illegal in 12 different ways becomes illegal in a 13th way, will actually make a difference. What has been proven to work is a combination of enforcement activity, education of parents, so that they know mini-bikes aren’t toys and can’t be used legally in public spaces, and the provision of safe places for kids who want to ride bikes legally and under supervision.
The Bill received its Second Reading in the House of Commons and will soon go into Committee stage where detailed argument about the issues will take place. The RAC Foundation believes this proposal risks creating a costly, bureaucratic registration scheme which won’t tackle the real issues and will penalise legitimate users of off-road vehicles – or collectors of vintage motorcycles – or Valentino Rossi racing at Donington Park. Illegal users would register under a false name, a false address, or use false plates – just as they do at present.
Click here to read more about the Bill from the MCIA.