Over the next few years our relationship with the European Union is likely to be significantly reshaped. For the outcome to be successful, we believe that it is essential to alter the way in which laws that affect motorcyclists operate to allow for greater flexibility.
A majority of motorcyclists back a referendum on our membership of the EU and, as our polling shows, the odds of Britain’s million-plus riders voting to remain in the EU are significantly increased if the Government can negotiate a new relationship that is beneficial to motorcylists. Only then would any renegotation be seen as a success.
The EU has increased harmonisation (establishing the same laws, rules and regulations across all EU member states) in a number of areas, including motorcycling. Recent rule changes have focused on a restructuring of licencing laws, which has led to a tiered system of motorcycle licences. This means motorcyclists having to undertake multiple tests (which is hugely expensive) as well as limiting their access to the more powerful bikes up to the age of 24, restricting the access of young riders into biking.
The EU has also harmonised the actual testing process itself. The result has been incredibly damaging for British motorcycling, with the number of applicants for the tests, according to the Transport Select Committee, dropping by a half before the changes were even implemented.
The official reasoning behind harmonisation is that if British motorcycle riders are frequently using the roads in other EU member states, a similar licencing and testing process is needed to ensure safer riding. However, polling by Bikers for Britain shows that this just isn’t happening. Half of the respondents to our poll haven’t ridden once in the past 5 years in another member state. In fact less than five percent do it with any frequency (once a year or more).
Based on this, Bikers for Britain are arguing for an end to motorcycle harmonisation. Harmonisation has led to unnecessary and overbearing regulation which solves a non-existent problem while simultaneously punishing motorcyclists and dissuading the young from using this viable, eco-friendly and economic form of transportation.
- Bikers back an EU referendum by 43% Yes to 33% No
- Bikers would vote to leave the EU on the current terms by 38% Yes to 33% No
- However if bikers were satisfied that the government has negotiated a new relationship with the EU that had “terms that were favourable to motorcyclists” they would vote to Stay 38% (to Leave 33%)
- 50% polled say that they haven’t used their motorcycle abroad in the last 5 years.
- One third (30%) of respondents Agreed that “Almost all the legal threats to biking now come from the European Union” (26% answered Disagree, 44% Don’t know)
- Over a quarter (27%) of bikers Agreed that “the European Union’s attitude towards biking will affect how I vote in an EU referendum” (33% answered Don’t know, 40% No)
“I am delighted that the Bikers for Britain campaign has launched today. As a lifelong motorcyclist I have long argued that harmonising regulation of this industry across Europe has brought far more costs than it has benefits. The EU has chipped away at the freedom of motorcyclists with a seemingly never-ending stream of legislation, when it should be encouraging this mode of transport that reduces congestion and pollutes the environment far less than auto vehicles.”
Mike Weatherley MP, Lifelong Biker