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The British Motorcyclists Federation, Britain's biggest biker group, has accused Mayor Ken Livingston's safety pundits of a scare campaign in the face of the increased use of congestion-charge beating motorcycles and scooters.

The 140,000 strong BMF, Britain's most influential rider group, are concerned that the shock tactics applied to a current cinema advertising campaign funded by Transport for London (TfL) are designed more to deter people from taking up PTWs (powered two wheelers) than it is to reduce accidents.

The advertising campaign, costing a reputed £1.2 million, uses live actors within the audience to dramatise the report of a crash involving a motorcycle and then shows a short film of a car/motorcycle collision. It does nothing positive to educate drivers or riders say the BMF, it simply records the incident and dramatises it.

The BMF are also critical of the casualty figures used to justify the cinema campaign. Figures quoting a 111% increase in PTW deaths since 1995 (25 to 52) are totally misleading say the BMF as they completely ignore the fact that usage has increased massively over that same period. Registration figures for London show that moped registrations alone increasing by over one thousand percent (1007%) from a 1995 level of 668 to a level of 7,397 in 2000.

The BMF see this blatant manipulation of figures designed to scare off potential new riders. Such a massive increase in usage has to be taken into account when quoting casualty figures. Not to do so is a gross misrepresentation of the facts say the BMF.

The BMF have been encouraged by what was seen as an enlightened view by TfL of the contribution PTWs can make in reducing congestion, (with the wider use of bus lanes by PTWs being a case in point), but now suspect exemptions were agreed more for practical administrative reasons than anything else.

'We are deeply concerned that personalities within TfL's road safety division are using the introduction of congestion charging to pursue an anti motorcycling agenda" said the BMF's Assistant Government Relations Executive, Richard Olliffe.

"The cinema campaign purports to be aimed at reducing junction crashes yet seems to be saying that it is up to motorcyclists and scooter riders to avoid such crashes. By TfL's own admission, in the majority of junction crashes, the motorcyclist or scooter rider is the innocent victim of incompetent car driving therefore the campaign should be aimed at the motorist, not the motorcyclist" he said.

Summing up, Richard said: "The BMF believes that road safety practitioners should deliver road safety regimes that protect vulnerable road user groups like motorcyclists and scooters riders. This campaign begs the question; is the TfL road safety division capable of delivering safer roads for London's growing number of motorcycle and scooter users? If this exercise is anything to go by, I don't think so!"


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