Manifesto and Constitution

View or download the latest version of the BMF Constitution from here. 


The topics on this page are:

The Powered Two-Wheeler
The PTW as Transport

Integrated Transport
Fiscal Measures and Incentives
Environmental Issues
Road Safety
Testing and Training
Voters Campaign

The Powered Two-Wheeler

Powered two-wheelers (PTWs) comprising power assisted cycles, mopeds, scooters and motorcycles of all sizes can all make a positive contribution to transport in the UK. Power-assisted cycles and mopeds are ideal for short journeys, particularly in urban conditions. Small commuter scooters and motorcycles provide better flexibility for longer journeys and medium weight machines are ideal for long distance commuting. Even large capacity sports bikes and touring machines will have less impact on the environment than cars, especially those with single occupants. Optimising PTW use requires relatively inexpensive changes to the infrastructure compared with accommodating additional public transport and making provision for more car traffic. Increased usage of PTWs through their small size and manoeuvrability can lead to reduced congestion with the knock-on effect of less pollution and a lower impact on the environment from traffic. They use land more efficiently than any other motorised transport too, occupying less road space and parking space in particular - five to seven PTWs can use a single car space.

PTWs can help to address social exclusion, particularly in rural areas which are poorly served by public transport and where the cost of buying and operating a car is impractical, allowing the impecunious to take up employment and educational opportunities not otherwise open to them. Most of all, the PTW offers travellers choice and reliable journey times with the flexibility which public transport cannot match, yet without the drawbacks associated with car use.

PTWs provide a measure of security against crimes against the person encountered on public transport for the more vulnerable members of society like women or minority ethnic groups.

Like all modes, PTW have some limitations. They are unsuitable for transporting large families and the severely disabled. Luggage capacity is limited and, like the other vulnerable road users such as walking and cycling, come with a greater risk to users than public transport or cars. Nevertheless, this should not exclude them from the transport planning process at national, regional or local level. We accept that there is no simple answer to the UK's transport problems but the powered two-wheeler, with its many virtues, is one solution which can and should play a part in Government Transport policy.

The PTW as Transport

The current government has, for the first time, included the powered two-wheeler in its transport agenda and has publicly stated that it is agnostic towards this mode. While such progress is appreciated by the BMF, we call for greater acceptance, a more positive attitude and more inclusive positive policies related to PTWs. While we agree that the smaller utilitarian machines can make the best contribution to addressing road traffic issues, there should also be recognition of the useful role that all PTWs can play. We recommend that government policy towards PTWs includes: 

  • Elevating the status of the Government Advisory Group on Motorcycling to a Government Strategy Group on Motorcycling based on the assumption that increased PTW usage is beneficial.
  • Tasking the Government Strategy Group on Motorcycling with producing a Motorcycling Strategy as part of the Integrated Transport Strategy.
  • Formally linking the Government Strategy Group on Motorcycling to other bodies contributing to the Integrated Transport Strategy such as the Commission for Integrated Transport.
  • Inclusion of PTWs in government policy relating to road transport.
  • Parity of recognition and recommendation with the commonly cited alternatives to the private car of walking, cycling and public transport. PTWs have a greater range of operation than cycling and walking, flexibility which public transport cannot match, and less impact on their surroundings than cars. 
  • Full and positive references to PTWs in all government policy and advisory documents related to road transport such as the Transport 2010 and Planning Policy Guidance Note 13 - Transport.
  • Setting standards regarding PTWs for devolved assemblies, regional government and local authorities to include PTWs in their planning policies.
  • Requiring devolved assemblies, regional government and local authorities to establish motorcycling forums which consult local riders as part of their policy making process.
  • Amending the specification for power-assisted cycles to allow power assistance to be up to 1 kW electrical and motorised in order to encourage the use of this inexpensive and efficient means of transport.

Integrated Transport

For the integration of powered two-wheelers into transport policy at all levels, the government should stipulate the following provisions:

  • Sufficient dedicated parking, which is free of charge and secure. 
  • Fairness in the enforcement of parking in which levels of penalties are related to the degree of obstruction and ensuring that PTWs are not penalising for parking in places not specifically authorised but where no obstruction is caused.
  • Private and local authority clampers to be subject to stricter rules and a requirement to levy standardised release fees with those for PTWs in direct proportion to those for cars.
  • The granting of access for PTWs to bus lanes, high occupancy vehicle lanes (for just the rider as well as with a passenger) and advanced stop lines.
  • Better access to and facilities for PTW parking and storage of protective clothing at transport interchanges and Park and Ride termini.
  • Complete exemption from road pricing, congestion charging and workplace parking levies.
  • Planning criteria to include minimum PTW parking standards and recommended levels on a par with pedal cycles.
  • The facility of piggyback transport on long-distance trains.
  • Inclusion of PTWs as alternative transport in travel awareness schemes for individuals such as Travelwise and in Green Transport Plans for government, local authority and private employers sites. 

Fiscal Measures and Incentives

The use of powered two-wheelers can benefit users in terms of lower purchase price and running costs than equivalent cars and can sometimes be a lower cost option than using public transport. The BMF calls for these advantages to be improved by sympathetic fiscal measures.

  • The banding for Vehicle Excise Duty to be restructured to better reflect motorcycle usage: up to 50cc, 51cc-125cc, 126cc-500cc, over 500cc
  • The lowest category to be subject to no annual fee with the highest increased by £5 from current levels to help make the change revenue-neutral.
  • Lower or zero rates of Value Added Tax for replacement visors and protective clothing to encourage safer practice and to come into line with the zero rating for helmets.
  • The First Registration Fee of £25 to be reduced to be in proportion to the purchase price of PTWs to reflect the likely disposable income of purchasers.
  • Adjust the supplement for MOT computerisation to be in proportion to the test fees.
  • Financial incentives for local authorities to offer ride to work schemes using subsidised moped hire to allow the socially excluded to find work to which they would otherwise be unable to travel.
  • The government should increase funding for road maintenance, particularly for local authorities above levels proposed in Transport 2010.
  • While PTWs are generally more fuel-efficient than other vehicles, reducing the burden of fuel duty will enhance their advantages of low running costs.

Environmental Issues

Powered two-wheelers, by virtue of usually having smaller engine sizes than cars and the fact that they are not subject to intermittent movement in congested conditions, means that they have a limited impact on the environment. This could be further reduced by measures to:

  • Properly enforce existing noise regulations for PTWs in use, particularly with respect to the use of aftermarket exhaust systems rather than allowing the European Union to continue to ratchet down noise limits for new machines.
  • While emissions limits for PTWs should be decreased as technology is developed, the government should ensure that EU emissions limits do not force PTW development into the technological blind alley of using closed loop catalytic converters. Future emissions limits should be set to encourage the development of more efficient engines which will reduce CO2 outputs as well as pollutant emissions.
  • Develop engines which are both more efficient and cleaner without catalyst technology, using financial support from the Department of Trade and Industry and/or the European Commission.
  • Encourage the purchase of more efficient and cleaner PTWs by financial incentives through VED and VAT concessions.

Road Safety

Safety considerations are often used as an excuse to not encourage more PTW usage in spite of their improving safety record and casualty levels being comparable with the positively encouraged vulnerable modes of walking and cycling. The BMF calls for more realistic risk management and a pragmatic approach to road safety rather than the simplistic approach adopted in the past, using the following steps:  

  • An underlying theme of making all road users take responsibility for their actions. The existing government THINK! campaign should be developed in this direction and away from the discredited, simplistic and authoritarian ‘Speed Kills’ message.
  • In order to devise the best countermeasures, a consistent and rational approach to accident causation is necessary. This can be facilitated by putting more resources into widening the remit of existing on- the-spot accident investigation and analysis in conjunction with EU initiatives like the Motorcycle Accident In-Depth Study (MAIDS).
  • Continue the existing trend of making vulnerable road user groups - including PTW riders - safer rather than limiting access or positively discouraging motorcycling which took place in the past.
  • The cause of safety will be best served by reversing current trends of enforcing black and white offences by increased emphasis on enforcing the evidence-led offences which are more closely related to standards of road use. As victims of bad driving, PTW users would benefit from this rationale for enforcement.
  • A safer environment will be achieved by more hands-on policing to advise road users of their errors rather than reliance on automated enforcement equipment which is often seen as a means of revenue raising. This can only be achieved by the Home Office recognising Traffic Policing as a Core Function.
  • Vulnerable road users including motorcyclists who are often victims of bad driving should have recourse to obtaining justice in the courts by more prosecutions of those responsible for causing accidents, particularly with vulnerable road users.
  • If fine revenue is to be connected to road safety purposes, the greatest benefit for road safety is in employing it in road safety education or preventative measures such as interactive signing and self-explaining roads. The pyramid financing of enforcement cameras will achieve little and lose public support for road safety.
  • More emphasis is necessary to distinguish between excess speed and the more serious inappropriate speed, necessitating stricter criteria regarding a speed-related accident history in permitting the siting of speed enforcement cameras.
  • Where such cameras are properly sited, their high visibility acting as a deterrent will have a more profound effect on safety than their being used to issue more penalties.
  • More initiatives are needed to prevent or enforce spillage of diesel and other contaminants on roads which compromise the safety of PTW users.
  • Since many accidents involving PTW riders are caused by other road users, further initiatives to raise the awareness of protected road users about all vulnerable road users will benefit motorcyclists.
  • The advantages of post-test rider training have been demonstrated from police Bikesafe initiatives. Bikesafe has the approval of the Association of Chief Police Officers Traffic Committee as best practice, but more police forces should be encouraged to adopt it. Riders need more incentives - such as reduced insurance premiums - to take post-test training schemes like the BMF Rider Training Scheme's Rider Plus course.
  • Enhanced conspicuousness is often cited as beneficial to motorcyclists, although the evidence is equivocal. The safety benefits of daytime headlight use, day running lights or the high-visibility clothing worn by riders must first be proven before these measures are recommended or made mandatory. In the interim, riders should be acquainted with the facts to enable them to make their own decisions on conspicuousness.
  • Motorcycle clothing should be further developed to provide greater levels of protection without compromising comfort. More critically, there is still much room for the improvement of helmets not only in terms of protection, but in reducing noise levels and limiting the propensity for visors to mist.
  • Although risk compensation may negate some safety benefits, we consider that the manufacturers should make Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) available as an option for more of their model ranges, including smaller machines. There should be no question of considering making ABS mandatory at this stage.
  • The issue of visors with light transmittance of less than 50% should be resolved by offering BSI approval for such visors for daytime use only. The development of photochromic visors which react to ambient light levels should be encouraged.
  • Some highly optimistic claims about the protection offered to riders by leg protectors and air bags have been matched by a similar degree of scepticism. It is recommended that an assessment is made by a testing facility, which is independent of their development or of any potential commercial benefits in their production, to resolve whether either system has the potential to be developed into practical means of protection once and for all.
  • Since many accidents involving PTW riders are caused by other road users, further initiatives to raise the awareness of protected road users about all vulnerable road users will benefit motorcyclists.

Testing and Training

Many of the recent improvements in motorcycle safety have been regarded as resulting from better training and more meaningful testing. The BMF seeks policies which will reinforce this trend.  

  • We accept that Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) should be regulated and there is a case for better uniformity of post-CBT training to test standard, using log books to monitor progress. However, this should not be so rigid as to stifle innovation and dealing with special cases.
  • The government is requested to exercise more control over the Driving Standards Agency, which is currently responsible for overseeing driving tests and CBT and is proposing to take control of post-CBT training. We are concerned that it should be more accountable to DETR.
  • Progress towards a hazard perception-based theory test and one that raises awareness of vulnerable road users should continue.
  • Incentives should be put in place to encourage post-test training like the BMF Rider Training Scheme’s Blue Riband Advanced course or the intermediate course for newly qualified riders, Rider Plus.
  • Moves by the European Union to add more stages of licensing and testing should be resisted. There is no evidence to indicate that stepped licensing as operated in some European countries contributes to increased road safety.


Theft of motorcycles and scooters has reached epidemic levels. While PTWs comprise 2.5% of the country's vehicles, they account for 10% of vehicle thefts. Recovery rates are low at only 14%. The scooter boom has brought with it many new victims of theft. Vigorous policies to combat theft must be adopted.  

  • The Home Office should include motorcycles and scooters in its vehicle theft awareness campaign.
  • The Vehicle Crime Reduction Action Team (VCRAT) and the Home Office should give PTW security more consideration rather than just concentrating on car-related issues. 
  • The unique nature of PTW theft warrants an annual PTW theft index.
  • Provision for PTWs and adequate consideration of their specific concerns should be made in the ACPO Secure Car Parks Scheme.
  • Local authorities should be required to provide more street furniture and CCTV to facilitate secure parking.
  • More government support is needed for police stolen vehicle squads, with stronger sentencing of bike thieves and those dealing in stolen bikes.
  • Secondary part-marking makes spare parts removed from stolen machines traceable. All PTWs in the Netherlands are subject to secondary part-marking at registration, and this should also be adopted in the UK.
  • Manufacturers could usefully be required to include additional security devices beyond a steering lock for newly registered PTWs. PTW design should, at least, be such that secondary locks can easily be carried.


Highway systems and vehicles are increasingly relying on telematics for traffic management and easing the task of driving as well as threatening to intervene in the process of operating a vehicle. PTWs do not as readily lend themselves to telematics as cars, but government policy should reflect their needs.

  • It is essential that, in developing new telematic systems, the PTW dimension should be taken into account.
  • PTWs should be included in the development and testing of telematic systems to ensure that they are compatible before their widespread adoption.
  • On-board vehicle systems that are sufficiently compact, robust and secure against theft and vandalism need to be developed.
  • Intelligent speed adaptation is being developed for cars and there are fears that external interventions could destabilise single track vehicles. However, an essential full testing scheme for PTWs has not been envisaged.
  • Telematic systems should not be developed to the stage that some classes of vehicles like PTWs which do not lend themselves to the systems should be excluded from certain highways.
  • All telematic systems should have built-in checks and balances to prevent intrusion and unwarranted surveillance of the individual.

There are more than 1,000,000 motorcyclists in the UK...

The BMF’s Motorcyclists Manifesto is part of the Bikers are Voters campaign.

Bikers are Voters is intended to raise the awareness of parliamentary candidates and electorates about the concerns of motorcyclists in elections. It is being conducted jointly by the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF), the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) and the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCI).

The BMF is the UK’s premier riders’ organisation with a membership in excess of 140,000. Established in 1960, it is dedicated to preserving, protecting and promoting motorcycling and the interests of all riders of powered two-wheelers. Protecting the right to ride and ensuring that the powered two-wheeler is at the heart of transport planning are central to our role. Our members enjoy exclusive benefits which include discounted insurance, discounts to BMF events and a monthly magazine. For more information about the BMF, call 01162 845380 or email: