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Written Statement - Statement on motorcycling

Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport

This Statement provides an update on the Welsh Government’s approach to encouraging safe and responsible motorcycling in Wales.

In May this year, I made a statement on how we are working with partners to improve the safety of motorcyclists on Welsh roads. I published the Road Safety Framework in July, which includes a target to reduce the numbers of killed and seriously injured motorcyclists by 25% by 2020 and sets out the actions we and others will take to achieve this.

All road users can have an impact on the communities through which they travel and I am aware, from concerns that Members have raised with me, that this applies to motorcyclists too.

Motorcycling has many positive impacts.  As a mode of transport, it can improve people’s access to employment and reduce congestion. As a leisure activity, it contributes to the Welsh economy generally through the purchase and maintenance of motorbikes and equipment, and it also brings significant benefits to the local economy in popular destinations and along the routes riders take.

Coupled with this however may be downsides for local communities. These are linked to the noise generated and the perception of speed, particularly when riders travel in larger groups, but also include the often distressing impact of collisions.  The majority of riders behave responsibly and courteously, but even a minority can cause distress and sour relations between riders and locals.

Most of the activities and courses that support motorcyclists focus predominantly on the safety aspects of riding, which remains a priority. With RIDE, the North Wales Police is already running a course that is specifically targeting riders who have come to their attention because of careless or antisocial behaviour. Police across Wales also run targeted cross-border operations, such as Focus and Darwin, addressing inappropriate riding together with communication and education.

I am committed to working with the Police and other partners on the Motorcycle Safety Steering Group to assess the success of these schemes in changing rider behaviour and to explore what we can do further to reduce these negative impacts on local communities, particularly in Mid Wales. As part of this, we will explore the potential benefits of publicity and awareness raising initiatives as well as the development of effective messages that can be incorporated into all the activities that are targeted at motorcyclists.