On Sunday 15 April, I spoke at a convention of the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) at the Ace Cafe, in Stonebridge, off the North Circular. The MAG describes itself as the UK's leading riders rights organisation aimed at shaping policy in the capital and beyond for motorcylists and scooters.
Shahrar Ali, Green London Assembly candidate, speaking on behalf of Jenny Jones and the London Green Party. In my opening speechette, I said that Greens were in favour of bikes, both pedal and motorised, for the simple reason that the motorbike was a very efficient way of getting around the city, compared to the motor car, when the amount of journeys with empty seats was taken into account. Our policy against the use of motorbikes on the bus lanes shared by pedal cycles was not particularly popular but I explained how this could be reconciled by better, dedicated cycleways that we were actively campaigning for, to better assist all road users. However, I also said that a better managed road space, with less traffic in the main lane would facilitate bikers that way, too. I emphasised that Green policies would help tackle air pollution, that bikers were particularly vulnerable to, and that our mission for a properly integrated, affordable public transport system would help everybody, since nobody was reliant on just one mode of transport.
Shahrar answering questions from those present. There were many questions, and only two political parties represented, although the questions seemed to be directed more at the Greens than the Tories. I didn't mind that, and learned plenty to report back to our policy people about. There were concerns about inadequate parking, speed humps and speed limits. We were asked to end with a closing pitch and I found the mood constructive and reception warm.
Simon Mouncey, MAG rep for Essex and Herts, with Shahrar Ali.
Carol and Pete, fellow riders. I discussed with them the apparent proliferation of bad scooter drivers delivering for pizza takeaways and they sympathised. Whilst it was said there was an obligation to take a CBT (compulsory bike test, short of the full licence), another biker who has worked in the trade chipped in to aver that huge numbers of such employees were getting away without their employer insisting on these tests and checks.
Press Release on London Greens website.