After major pushback from riders, Oxfordshire revised its report.

Remember how the City Council of Oxfordshire, UK, had a giant bone they wanted to pick with motorcyclists just last week? After repeatedly being called out on the carpet by the likes of the British Motorcycle Federation and the Motorcycle Action Group, it seems the grumpy council members have rather hastily walked back their faulty claims.  

People inherently have biases, but the job of local governments is to do their best for all constituents in their local area, not broadcast their unsubstantiated biases as facts (which they’re clearly not). In Oxfordshire’s case, motorcyclists are among their constituents.  

As Justin so eloquently deconstructed last week, the original report made several arguments against motorbikes that sounded an awful lot like Grandpa Simpson yelling at a cloud. Here are the changes you’ll see in the newly revised report, which was issued on April 21, 2020. 

 

Original Report Text 

New Report Text 

Motorbikes are mostly still using fossil fuels to run, meaning they are environmentally unsound, not sustainable, and contribute to air pollution 

As with cars, motorbikes are mostly still using fossil fuels to run, meaning they have environmental impacts, including contributing to air pollution 

Statistical evidence suggests motorcyclists are a danger to themselves, and there are recorded activities in other places showing drops in collisions once motorized two-wheelers have been banned from specific lanes other than roads. 

Levels of accidents involving motorcycles is high relative to their use compared with other modes of transport, with statistical evidence and research suggesting motorcyclist behaviour, such as speed or loss of control contributes to many accidents involving motorcycles 

Motorbikes make a substantial contribution to noise pollution 

Removed entirely 

Motorbikes are substantially larger than bicycles, so they take more land space to park in busy urban environments 

Removed entirely 

 

I thank the motorcycle community for raising comments on the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan Motorcycle Topic paper. I am sorry that they feel that it is biased in its outlook as this was not the intention but accept that it was construed this way,” Councillor Constance responded to the BMF, according to VisorDown 

It was likely construed that way because it was written that way, but some people seem unable to recognize their own biases when so confronted, so I’ll let that go for the moment. The point is, the council should represent its constituents, some of its constituents are motorcyclists, and the motorcyclists came together, pushed back, and got some satisfaction. Good. 

It’s true that you’re more likely to face serious injury if you crash on a motorcycle than in a car. If you want to see some statistical skewing against cars, there are bound to be far greater numbers of irresponsiblcar drivers doing stupid stuff on the road than motorcyclists, simply because there are more car drivers on roads. Does that mean cars should be banned? Obviously not, but that argument is just as faulty as what the council’s original report attempted to push.  

As BMF chairman Jim Freeman said, a united front serves us all best. It’s on all of us to keep an eye out for each other, and support our rights as members of our local communities who are also motorcyclists. 

Sources: Oxfordshire County CouncilVisorDown