The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) is a riders’ rights organization serving the U.K. Established in 1973 to oppose the country’s Motor Cycles Regulations 1973 (Wearing of Helmets), MAG may have started on the wrong side of history, but currently works with local governments to decrease bike theft and increase on-road safety.
In order to assess the riding community’s priorities, MAG surveys members and non-members on a particular issue. The latest survey centered on Britain’s plan to phase-out gas-powered four-wheeled vehicles by 2030. Under the assumption that the new law would extend to motorcycles and scooters in the near future, MAG’s survey collected responses from 4,805 participants (1,575 MAG members, 3,230 non-members).
The study's first question concerned a potential ban on new gas-powered bikes. The results reveal that only eight percent of the respondents would support such a ban while 36 percent hope to delay it. A staggering 55 percent would outright oppose it. A follow-up question asked voters if they would like MAG to work with other organizations to oppose such a ban; 38 percent responded in the affirmative.
While the two preceding questions focused on legislation, the survey’s final query dealt with riders’ attitudes toward electric motorcycles. Surprisingly, 31 percent said they would quit riding if electric replaced internal combustion. The majority (56 percent) would resist converting for as long as possible and only 13 percent would readily make the jump.
At a glance, the results seem like a canary in the coal mine for electric motorcycle manufacturers and legislators, but we have to consider MAG’s sample collection as well. The organization believes that “respondents would consider themselves to be motorcycle enthusiasts due to the channels used to promote the survey.” However, that doesn’t ensure that all the participants were currently licensed motorcycle riders.
Also, the survey’s limited demographic reports (MAG member vs. non-members), doesn’t account for age range or regionality. A recent U.K.-based report found that younger riders are more open to electric models and those residing in urban areas would also benefit from the transition.
Without additional information, it's hard to tell just how many motorcyclists will embrace imminent electrification. Just what MAG does with this information is unknown at this point, but we know our stance. Whether motorcycles run on petrol or pixie dust, we’re there. If all motorcycles were electric by tomorrow, would you hang up your helmet or hop right back in the saddle?