Victory for bikers as council backs down over ‘extreme bias’ document

21433073 1630237430354027 5174489115084984162 n

Published on 22 April 2020 by Mike Waters

Oxfordshire County Council has withdrawn a controversial briefing document that claimed “Statistical evidence suggests motorcyclists are a danger to themselves” after public pressure from the BMF. 

As the BMF has previously reported, BMF member and independent Councillor John Broad raised the alarm after finding this claim and similar statements he felt were “sweeping and not justified” in a briefing document on the council’s Local Transport and Connectivity Plan.  

The BMF joined Cllr Broad in his concern and objected strongly to the publication of the document, with BMF Chairman Jim Freeman sharply criticising it for “appalling, discriminatory bias” against motorcyclesCllr Broad also wrote to the portfolio holder for transport at Oxfordshire County Council, Councillor Yvonne Constance OBE, to call for it to be withdrawn. 

The document has been both withdrawn and replaced by the Council, and passages like the one quoted above and to which Cllr Broad expressed his objections have been removed. The new briefing document can be found here 

The BMF contacted the Council and invited them to comment, and we received the following statement from Cllr Constance: "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. 

"This paper is one of the papers on different aspects of transport and set out to give a relatively short overview of motorcycle matters in Oxfordshire today. The paper included information on levels of motorcycle usage, highlighted some of the likely benefits and disbenefits of motorcycling, as well as using some information and data to provide context. The overall goal of the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan engagement survey is not to set out firm positions on transport but to welcome the views of residents." 

Welcoming the news, BMF Chairman Jim Freeman said: "The BMF are pleased to learn of Oxfordshire County Council’s revised proposals regarding the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan. As Chairman, I’d like to thank Councillor John Broad, one of our members, for alerting us to this situation. We support every effort that he’s making on behalf of ordinary motorcyclists in Oxfordshire. The BMF’s Political and Technical Services Director, Anna Zee, is working on a detailed response to the survey, looking at all aspects that affect riders, to be in place before the consultation period ends. The BMF are happy to work with other groups that represent rider interests and we feel that a united front will serve us all best."

Have your say on our Facebook page. 

You can join the BMF and help us protect the rights of motorcyclists for just £28 a year. Find out more here.