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
'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
"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!"