- Federation of European Motorcyclists' Associations
20th February 2017
BMF is a member of the Federation of European Motorcyclists' Associations Visit www.fema-online.eu to find out what they're up to
- Welsh National Rally - Saturday 6th May 2017
13th February 2017
1st round of the 2017 Three nations Award....... Read more...
- BMF Annual Regional Meetings (ARM) 2017
10th February 2017
Dates for your diary! The dates for the BMF Annual Regional Meetings are starting to come in - why not join your local representatives and make your voice heard? North East ...
- Into the shadows
7th February 2017
We spoke to John Newson about his spectacular Vincent Black Shadow. Read the full feature at bmf.co.uk
- POWERS: a quick way to keep your bike in check
31st January 2017
Mike Dall has a quick mnemonic to keep you bike in check everytime to you ride
- Photos from British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF)...
28th January 2017
BMF life member, Ben Crossley, was presented with the National Road Rally Spirit of the Event Award 2016 by NRR Committee Chairman, Tim Fairbrother at the ACU Awards this evenin...
- Motorcycle sales boom in 2016
26th January 2017
What a year! Despite consumer confidence issues following Brexit, 2016's motorcycle sales were up 11% over 2015
- Timeline Photos
25th January 2017
The BMF has worked closely with Highways England since the Motorcycle Working Group was set up a year or so ago. Highways England wants to know what you want from them – and d...
- Mobile Phone Whilst Driving Awareness Survey 2017
24th January 2017
The National Roads Policing Intelligence Forum want to know what you think about using phones whilst driving and the related new legislation changes Respond to the short survey...
- The Rt. Hon. Chris Grayling: Fight Vnuk - The EU J...
23rd January 2017
A petition against the Vnuk Judgement is available here! The EU ruling could affect motorsport as we know it
- Timeline Photos
21st January 2017
CALLING ALL AFFILIATED CLUBS: Do you have any upcoming events planned for 2017? Email email@example.com with your event’s details and we’ll get your event added to the BMF...
- Honda’s self-balancing motorcycle
19th January 2017
Honda's new concept motorcycle can even balance itself without a rider
- American import tax will hurt European motorcyclin...
18th January 2017
Federation of European Motorcyclists' Associations - "American import tax will hurt European motorcycling"
- RAC ‘pothole breakdowns’ rise in last quarter ...
18th January 2017
RAC reports that 'pothole breakdowns' have risen for the first time since 2013
- New tech will identify potholes before they develo...
13th January 2017
York and Thurrock councils are trialling a new system to detect potholes before they appear
- EU ruling could end all motorsport
12th January 2017
Do you think the EU's 'Vnuk judgement' will end motorsport as we know it?
- We're hiring!
10th January 2017
Don't forget to get your application in soon!
It’s hard to believe that the British Motorcyclists Federation is over 50 years old – 52 to be precise. On July 17 1960, with the M1 still in its infancy, the Federation of National and One Make Motorcycle Clubs (FNOMCC) was established, which would later be renamed the BMF.
When the FNOMCC was founded, riders didn’t have to wear a helmet and speed limits meant going as fast as you could (or dared). Motorcyclists accounted for 20% of all motorists in the UK, you could learn to ride on any bike you wished and there was no CBT! Amid the fumes of BSA Gold Stars and Triumph Bonnevilles, there existed a feeling that motorcyclists were not being properly represented. This led to Gerry Malin of the Vincent Owners Club and club representatives agreeing upon the aims and objectives of the FNOMCC.
The BMF was initially concerned with the new ten-year MOT tests for vehicles, the rise of insurance and how to get better deals for riders. We vehemently opposed the 1961 Cronin Bill that proposed passenger insurance, and legislation implemented in 1961 restricted learner riders to motorcycles no larger than 250cc.
Although it seems strange now, the compulsory wearing of helmets was also debated in parliament in the early 1960s. By the end of 1961 we had 13 clubs in membership and represented more than 4,500 riders. An action plan was produced in 1962, promoting riding at reasonable speeds.
The Fellowship of Riders (FOR) was set up to cater for non-club members and soon FNOMCC membership stood at 10,000 in August 1963. The Federation continued to improve its professional image through 1964 with the start of a bi-monthly magazine entitled Unity.
In the wider world of motorcycling, registrations had dropped, public attitudes toward riders were growing colder and the industry was in decline. Despite this, we still represented 24 clubs by 1965. In the August of the same year, the AGM voted to change the name of the FNOMCC to the British Motorcyclists Federation and a new constitution was duly drawn up that contained elements which still exist to this day.
A spate of serious accidents in heavy fog and instances of manufacturers such as Aston Martin and Jaguar carrying out highspeed testing on the M1 resulted in a blanket limit of 70mph on all roads in Britain. The entire motorcycle industry was under attack as insurance and the notion of banning bikes altogether came to the fore. Membership doubled as we continued to oppose the raising of the minimum age of riding a motorcycle to 17. Registered bikes continued to fall in the latter years of the decade; even with the rise of Japanese bikes, the public still preferred to use cars.
We were facing a deficit in 1968 and ideas of a ‘fighting fund’, a need for full time staff, expenses for volunteers and the establishment of an HQ were all tabled. But by July, thanks to the fighting fund, the deficit was avoided and we had in excess of 20,000 members.
In the 1970s we had settled down into a well-organised body with a steadily growing membership and an admirable reputation. Compulsory passenger insurance had been introduced but we looked to campaign over its unreasonably high cost.
The motorcycle industry was struggling against the onslaught of Japanese machinery and helmet compulsion remained an issue. We continued to expand, with 63 clubs in membership by 1971. We campaigned against the restriction of 16-year-old learners to 50cc mopeds and a petition of 23,800 signatures was presented to Downing Street – though sadly to no avail. Helmets were also made compulsory in June 1973. By the end of the year we had also achieved representation on the influential RAC Motorcycle Committee.
Dipped headlights were to be used by all vehicles at the end of 1975, and in 1976 we worked tirelessly to negotiate better insurance premiums. A year later, the BMF Rally moved to Peterborough, which remains its home today – albeit under its new moniker: The BMF Show. Sadly, any triumphs were set against a backdrop of low funds and a new tiered subscription structure for clubs was therefore introduced from July 1977. The 1970s was a busy decade for us at the BMF, but through it we established ourselves as a force to be reckoned with.
Going into the 1980s, we were regularly consulted by the government and record motorcycle registrations were achieved. It was also reported that riders were 30 times more likely to be killed than a car driver. This resulted in the government quickly introducing safety measures, which included random breath testing and the introduction of the points system to deal with road offences. We introduced a Nine Point Action Plan and also worked to ensure builders’ skips had fluorescent and reflective markings.
The letters page in Rider reflected riders’ concerns in which discrimination was often discussed alongside insurance premiums and the need to teach schoolchildren road safety. We set up the Rider Training Scheme, which became a registered charity in 1983 and had trained over 10,000 riders by 1984. The BMF Rally encountered controversy in 1983 when Bonnie Tyler and BBC Radio 1 DJs were pelted with mud, doing little to improve the image of motorcycling.
On the eve of the 1990s Mintel reported that motorcycles were becoming not so much the poor man’s transport, but rather the rich man’s plaything. Our activities broadened further, particularly with the growth of the RTS and regional events.
In 1991, we successfully campaigned in Europe for test candidates to be able to take their test on up to a 125cc vehicle. Furthermore, we also ensured that riders over the age of 21 could be given direct access to a motorcycle of any capacity upon completion of their test. We also opposed the introduction of a second motorcycle driving test. We were supported by the British government in the first provision but, despite their three successes, a provision to include a theory test passed through the EU Parliament unopposed.
Further victories in Europe came in 1992 when Type Approval regulations were opposed and it continued to be legal for owners to still be able to modify their own motorcycles.
Later in 1995 we secured a victory that ensured there wouldn’t be a continent-wide ban on motorcycles with over 100bhp. Notoriously known as the ‘100bhp Proposal’, we joined forces with FEM and EMA to reject the proposal. The motorcyclists secured absolute majority victories and when the proposal came under review in 1997 it was found that “there was no scientific evidence to assume that engine size is to be a major factor in motorcycle accidents”. The proposal was then dropped.
Back at home, and as the millennium turned, we ensured the two-year limit on the duration of a provisional motorcycle driving licence was repealed. We opposed a ban on dark tinted visors and sponsored the KillSpills anti-diesel spillage campaign. Our campaign on Bus Lane use continued, we lobbied against an EU driving licence directive, and on proposed bans from National Parks and closures of Green Lane access.
2010 and beyond!
We are fighting to improve access to motorcycle tests after poor implementation of EU rules meant a catastrophic fall in test candidates. We are also working through the EU to ensure the best deal for riders over new Type Approval rules.