BMF NEWS ROUND UP – October 2023

BMF NEWS ROUND UP – October 2023

The monthly news round-up, brought to you by the BMF

During October Anna Zee & Paul Morgan took part in the following meetings:

EV Connect group

Attended by Anna. An online meeting of the EV Connect group which is a new special interest group in the British Parking Association. Presentations included one on ‘myth-busting’ around electric vehicles and others from the Office of Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) and from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles. More interesting than you might think but the OPSS has not so far paid any attention to motorcycles.

RoSPA National Road Safety Committee meeting

Attended by Anna, was focussed on 20mph limits. I made the point that while we had no objection to 20mph limits around schools etc, currently the BMF does not have an official policy on 20mph limits.

National Highways (NH)

Attended by Paul and Anna. Discussed the need to update the Institute of Highways Engineers guidelines for motorcycles. NH have a document in the DMRB (Design Manual for Roads & Bridges) about designing for motorcycles (as a result of previous work in the NH Motorcycle Working Group) which we are currently reviewing.

National Motorcyclists Council (NMC)

Attended by Paul and Anna. The Policy Council meeting discussed the program for an election campaign, priority issues for the election manifesto etc.  The BMF will have substantial input updating the NMC core policy document and revising the NMC position on motorcycle testing and licencing.

In Other News:

The BMF has agreed to work with Motorcycle Law Scotland (MLS) to improve driver awareness of motorcyclists at junctions. MLS argues that current safety campaign messaging in Scotland, that focuses solely on educating riders about risks and reducing speed, ‘demonises’ motorcyclists. It also creates a false perception amongst other road users that the responsibility for rider safety rests entirely in the hands of the rider. Back in England, Camden Council is looking to introduce motorcycle parking charges, scrapping free parking bays and replacing them with pay-to-park facilities. Increasing numbers of local authorities are seeking to make riders for parking. BMF fully supports Save London Motorcycling‘s campaign against these unwarranted charges.

Nick Sanders latest record breaking round the world trip is on an electric bicycle!  Nick is no stranger to pedal power, having pedalled his way to several cycling records before turning to motorcycles. Riding a Yamaha Wabash RT, he’s expecting to be back in April 2024. In less adventurous news, Suzuki is now offering ‘click to buy’ on its 125cc scooter range – customers can buy with one click online before being pointed towards their nearest dealer with the model in stock.

Airbags for bikes will be available in 2025. Autoliv, one of the world’s leading suppliers of airbags for cars, has developed a bag suitable for scooters and small motorcycles. The front-mounted airbag is designed to cope with collisions when vehicles pull out in front of the machine. From safety to convenience – Honda’s latest innovation is the E-clutch, which provides automatic electronic control of the clutch when starting, stopping or changing gear. The rider can override the system using the manual clutch lever…if they insist.

Some classic British bikes are seen as sure-fire investments, but it’s not always in the case. A Brough SS80 auctioned recently at the Haynes Motor Museum was expected to make £65-68,000, with speculation that it might reach six figures. In the event, bidding petered out at £55,000, and it failed to sell…maybe premium bonds are best after all.

The end-date for the sale of new petrol motorcycles is still up in the air. The current dates are 2030 for mopeds and 125s, and 2035 for all bigger bikes, but the recent pushback of the end date for petrol/diesel cars has put these in doubt. The Department for Transport has promised a decision “in due course.”

Meanwhile, manufacturers continue to hedge their bets on how the motorcycle of the future will be powered. Kawasaki is offering both battery-electric and petrol/electric hybrids, with its battery Ninjas (125cc equivalent) now on sale in the UK, and the bigger Ninja 7 Hybrid (claiming 650cc performance) arriving here in April 2024. Suzuki appears to covering all bases with two prototype Burgman scooters shown recently, one with a hydrogen ICE engine, the other with swappable batteries. If you want to buy British, White Motorcycle Concepts is now offering the WMC 300FR, Yamaha Tricity-based hybrid, which uses electric power below 30mph and the 300cc petrol engine out of town.

And finally, hats off to Herefordshire motorcyclist Fred Spaven, who has completed the 200-mile Edinburgh Trial on a home-built electric motorcycle. It’s thought to be the first time any of the major long-distance trials, which include off-road sections, have been completed by an electric.  “I wasn’t chasing medals,” said Fred. “What I was interested in was road miles, though I did clean a couple of sections. I did three half-hour recharges and dropped the bike once, fortunately a soft landing. But I ended with that most valuable piece of A5 card, a finisher’s certificate.”