Back in November the Telegraph ran a story about the ACPO submitting evidence to the Transport Select Committee in which it suggested banning motorcycles from certain areas called “protection zones”, whatever they might be. Here are the ACPO’s words from page Ev242 of the report (the 297th page according to my PDF reader):
7.3 There is a need for radical thinking in respect of motorcycles, including consideration of engine capability and the creation of protection zones where all motorcycles other than those specifically permitted, would be prohibited.
7.4 Production machines are readily available for use on our roads with top speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour. Motorcycles are seen in the UK to be, in the majority of instances, vehicles of choice rather than necessity and one might consider if our congested roads are any longer fit for purpose for these motorised toys.
Such scorn for motorbikes! The Telegraph says it’s not true that bikes that can go faster than 200mph are available. Manufacturers do limit bikes to 186mph although it’s possible some 8-year-old Suzuki Hayabusas might be available, if not quite “readily”.
Devil’s Kitchen, to whom a hat tip for this link, thinks this is the thin end of a sinister wedge, with the ultimate aim of banning motorcycles completely. It does indeed have similar smell to the anti-tobacco movement. Start with restricting motorcycles from certain areas and you can easily expand those areas. I wonder where the protection zones the ACPO has in mind might be. Possibly they are thinking of A-roads on sunny Sunday afternoons which is when a lot of accidents happen. The “motorised toys” rhetoric certainly indicates this.
Hopefully it will come to nothing. Motorcyclists are quite good at organising themselves into large groups and hopefully that will make politicians think twice. But this is worth keeping an eye on.
As an aside, I recently took my motorised toy to Norway and made a video about it.