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Category: Motorcycle Industry Association

  1. Motorcycle and scooter sales up for 2016

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    Total registrations for new motorcycles, scooters and mopeds rose by 11.7% during 2016. A total of 128,644 new machines were registered between January and December, compared to 115,121 for 2015.

    Commuter sized bikes (50 – 125cc) saw the largest rise.  Nearly 40% of all new bikes sold were in this category.  The most popular style of bike was ‘naked’, with 35,651 new registrations, followed by ‘scooter’ with 27,482 units.  Both styles are popular with commuters, which underlines the trend for utility/commuter use.  

    The leisure market also performed well, with the popularity of bikes aimed at adventure and trail riders accounting for nearly 20% of the total new market.

    Before December, new registrations had achieved a steady 7%-8% increase throughout the year, recovering well after a dip following the Brexit referendum. December is normally a quiet month for motorcycle sales, but 2016 saw an unusually high number of registrations, most likely due to dealers, manufactures and importers managing Euro 3 motorcycles before the 2016 end of year deadline.

    The rise in new registrations is reflected in the used market too, with the number of motorcycles and scooters licensed for the road at its highest for seven years.* 

    Steve Kenward, CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Association explained:

    “Once again we have two distinct stories emerging.  With rail fare hikes, public transport strikes and increasing congestion on our roads, many people are turning to motorcycles and scooters as a more affordable and efficient form of commuter transport, which is reflected in the type of bikes which are selling well.”

    “The leisure market is strong too, with sales of bikes popular for trail and adventure riding also performing particularly well throughout the year. End of year registrations for Euro 3 stock mean there will be some good value scooters and motorcycles available in dealerships this month, which will help those wanting to make the switch to a powered two wheeler.”

    Predictions for 2017 

    Steve Kenward continued:

    “We factored an end of year bulge into annual predictions for 2016 but anticipate similar sales for 2017, with between 120k – 130k new registrations.  Like other industries, current predictions will depend on how Brexit affects consumer confidence, but a combination of high public transport costs and stressful driving conditions is likely to induce more people to opt for a powered two wheeler during the next 12 months.”

    Motorcycle and scooter sales up for 2016 - More people are taking to PTWs t

    Motorcycle and scooter sales up for 2016 - More people are taking to PTWs to beat congestion and rising rail fares


    • *Department for Transport figures showing the number of motorcycles, scooters and mopeds licensed for the road can be found on table VEH0301.
    • You can download December’s press stats in full here.
    • The increase in 2016 builds on a rise of 12% for 2015 and an increase of 10% for 2014.
    • The Motorcycle Industry Association, the National Police Chiefs Council and Highways England launched a strategy document at the end of 2016, to make roads safer for riders of motorcycles, scooters and mopeds.  You can read the Motorcycle Safety and Transport Policy Framework here.
    • A one off survey by the Office for National Statistics showed that those who commuted by motorcycle, scooter or moped were among the happiest commuters. 
  2. DVSA sets out proposals to improve motorcycle training

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    The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has launched a consultation asking for views on proposals to improve motorcycle training.

    Motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users. They account for around 1% of traffic on Great Britain’s roads, but 21% of deaths or serious injuries.

    The proposed changes aim to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured by making sure new riders are better prepared for the realities of riding on modern roads.

    The main points are

    Improving training
    Improved instructors and training schools
    Skills and knowledge to ride safely


    Karen Cole, Director of Safety and Training for the Motorcycle Industry Association, said:


    We’re delighted to see DVSA has launched this consultation. We’d urge anyone interested in motorcycle training to respond.

    Have your say on the proposals by 17 February 2017.

    Read more here

    Improving training to help you through a lifetime of safe riding

  3. New partnership will make roads safer for motorcyclists

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    Roads to become safer for motorcyclists through new partnership

    Highways England, the company responsible for running over 4,000 miles of England’s motorways and major trunk roads, is to become the third partner in a landmark collaboration to improve motorcycle rider safety. Roads to become safer for motorcyclists through new partnership

    The government owned company will join the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) as an equal partner in facilitating practical changes to roads, as detailed in a jointly written whitepaper: ‘Realising the Motorcycling Opportunity: A Motorcycle Safety and Transport Policy Framework’.

    The Framework calls for motorcycles and scooters to be included in mainstream transport policy and for rider safety to be consistently factored into national road design, which has not been the case in the past. 

    Seven key areas have been identified, which would make roads safer for riders, along with actions as to how this can be achieved practically. These include: safer infrastructure, expanding road user education, increasing awareness and training and working in partnership with cycle groups.

    The Framework also advocates unlocking the benefits of motorcycles and demonstrating exactly how they offer a practical solution to congestion, as well as improving personal mobility for people without access to other forms of transport. 

    Highways England has a goal of bringing the number of people killed or injured on the strategic road network as close as possible to zero by 2040. It will work with police and MCIA across all seven areas identified in the Framework and will lead on ‘safer infrastructure’. 

    Mike Wilson, Highways England’s Chief Highways Engineer, said: “Safety is our top priority and we believe no one should be harmed when travelling or working on our road network. We are committed to both reducing the number of motorcycle incidents and casualties on our roads and to improving the experience motorcyclists have on those roads; this influential partnership with the industry and police supports that commitment.”

    Deputy Chief Constable for North Yorkshire Police, Tim Madgwick, who is the national motorcycle lead for the National Police Chiefs Council says: “The Police service is on the front line, dealing with the devastation that is caused to families and the greater community by road traffic collisions. The opportunity to work with both Highways England and the Motorcycle Industry Association gives us far greater scope to make our roads a safer place, not only for those who use powered two wheelers, but for all road users.  In addition to the safety aspect, encouraging greater use of motorcycles will also contribute greatly to reducing congestion and therefore journey times across the country.”

    Karen Cole, Director of Safety and Training, says working in partnership with HE and NPCC could produce the breakthrough that motorcycle safety deserves: “Highways England brings significant resource to this ambitious project; financially and in terms of influence, expertise and evidence-based decision making; add this to police backing and we have an unprecedented opportunity to make a huge difference to riders. For too long, motorcyclists have been at the bottom of the pecking order in terms of priority for traffic management and road planners. Often ‘safety advice’ is a thinly veiled attempt to keep people off motorbikes and scooters, rather than a genuine attempt to reduce their vulnerability.  It is important to recognise the transport choice of riders and address their needs appropriately.  Ignoring motorcyclists increases their vulnerability.”

    The Framework advocates using guidelines produced by the Institute of Highway Engineers which identifies simple practical steps to reduce risks for riders. 
    These include:

    • Using rider friendly barriers and road surfaces
    • Repositioning pillars
    • Removing unnecessary signage
    • Using non-slip man hole covers
    • Prompt clear up of diesel.

    Highways England (HE) will also work to promote safety messages and create awareness about motorcycles and scooters, since education of all road users is an important element of the Framework. HE has already set up a working party to encourage learners to take further training for a licence and to encourage riders to wear personal protective clothing.

    Safe Systems

    The Framework incorporates the ‘safe system approach’, which is now widely accepted as a guiding principle among road safety professionals. This is underpinned by the understanding that humans are fallible and will make mistakes, which can be mitigated through ‘forgiving’ design, i.e. a road system built to absorb mistakes and limit the transfer of forces which can result in serious injury or death.

    Background to the Framework

    The first edition of the Framework was launched by the NPCC and MCIA in 2014, following acknowledgement from police and motorcycle road safety experts that the only way to reduce vulnerability of riders was to properly incorporate their use and needs into mainstream transport planning. 

    The Framework details a growing body of evidence from other EU countries to show that casualties reduce where motorcycle and scooter use is more common, as other road users become more aware of them.  This is the same argument used by the cycling lobby and both modes of transport saw reductions of those killed and seriously injured in the last set of figures issued by the Department for Transport.

    The number of motorcycles and scooters licensed for the roads has nearly doubled in the past twenty years, and government statistics show that there was a further 1.2% increase for quarter 4 (October to December 2015).  With congestion set to rise, it is likely many more people will opt for two wheel transport and Highways England, the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Motorcycle Industry Association believe this choice needs to be properly supported.

    An electronic copy of the Framework will be available at 

    Transport and Mobility Leuven showed that when just 10% of car drivers swapped to a motorcycle, scooter or moped, congestion reduced for all road users by 40%. When 25% of drivers swapped, congestion was eliminated altogether.  See Commuting by motorcycle impact analysis of an increased share of motorcycles in commuting traffic, 2011. Available here


  4. Plug in grant for electric motorcycles now official

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    Plug in grant for electric motorcycles now official

    The Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) is pleased to announce that the public will soon be able to enjoy a subsidy for electric motorcycles and scooters, which has so far only been available for four wheel vehicles.

    Unlike cars, electric motorcycles and scooters can be charged at home or work using normal plug sockets, which makes them more accessible.

    The price of each vehicle will be reduced by £1500 or 20% of the total purchase cost (screen price), whichever is the smaller number.

    The grant will be made available for new road registered electric motorcycles and scooters reaching certain quality criteria, which include having a battery with 5 years warranty and a good range.

    MCIA has been involved in negotiations with OLEV, the government department which encourages low emission vehicles, for the past three years.  An initial announcement about extending the grant to motorcycles and scooters was made by the Coalition Government in March 2015; however the detail was not confirmed until now. 

    Details of how manufacturers and importers can have their bikes assessed for eligibility will be on the OLEV website from next week.  (See website address below).

    Customers wanting to buy an electric motorcycle will be able to find out which ones are eligible once manufacturers have applied for the grant and been accepted.

    This announcement comes as part of a £35 million boost for ultra low emission vehicles announced this week, to encourage the uptake of zero emission motorcycles and scooters.

    Steve Kenward, CEO of the MCIA says this should help make electric vehicles and travel more affordable for many people: “This opens the door to zero emission transport to people who have not been able to afford electric cars, which tended to have been a ‘lifestyle choice’. Motorcycles and scooters are an extremely accessible form of electric transport and have the capacity to significantly reduce congestion, since they share all the advantages of riding a regular powered two wheeler.  Riders can filter through traffic, often use bus lanes and usually get closer to their end destination, cutting door to door journey times.  

    “Motorcycles are exempt from congestion charges with ‘fuel’ costing the equivalent of a penny a mile and nothing to pay for vehicle tax, plus cheaper or free parking. Switching to an electric motorcycle or scooter could result in huge savings for the average commuter, or for businesses which operate fleet vehicles.” 

  5. Electric bicycles and mopeds; there are no 'grey areas'

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    The Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) and the Bicycle Association of Great Britain (BA) are concerned that some sellers are unaware of, or ignoring, the rules surrounding high powered electric bicycles.

    Both associations are fielding enquiries regarding the exploitation of a 'grey area', whereby high powered bikes are bought for 'off-road use', in the mistaken belief that this makes them exempt from existing rules.

    In order for an electric bike to enjoy the same rights as an ordinary pedal cycle, it should have working pedals, not exceed 250 Watts and the electrical assistance should cut out when the bike reaches 15.5mph.

    In the UK, an electric bike over 250W is legally classified as a moped if it is to be ridden on the road. Mopeds must be 'type approved'*, registered, taxed, insured and have an MOT. The rider must have the appropriate licence/training and wear a helmet.

    If an electric bike over 250W is intended for off-road use in the UK, then it must comply with the same rules which apply to off-road motorcycles. That means riders are barred from using public roads, common land, paths or tracks intended for cyclists and must be registered on an agreed list for off-road competition bikes, known as the FIM competition list.

    MCIA and BA would also remind anyone who owns or is selling an e-bike that it makes no difference if the machine has a switch to flick between a higher and lower power setting. The higher power rating is the rating that the bike needs to be classified by.

    Steve Garidis, Operations Director of the BA, said: "The vast majority of the industry understands its obligations and is highly professional in the way it sells electric bicycles, but it's vital all sellers understand there is really no 'grey area' when it comes to when an electric bicycle must be treated as a moped. 'Speed pedelecs' for example, a category of faster e-bike becoming popular in Germany and other countries, are categorised as mopeds in the UK. They have motors more powerful than 250W and offer power assist to a higher speed than 25km/h (15.5mph). Unlike in Germany, there are no regulations which exempt speed pedelecs from any of the standard moped requirements in the UK, so the machine must be type approved, registered, taxed, insured; the rider must have a suitable licence and wear a full motorbike helmet, and be over 16."

    Dave Luscombe, MCIA's Project Manager for Alternative Powered Vehicles, explained the situation for off-road use: "Telling someone they are 'okay on private land' is seriously misleading, unless you make them understand they probably need to own the land themselves. High powered off-road electric bikes currently fall within rules meant for off-road motorcycle sport. That means they can't access areas where, for example, motocross machines are barred. They can't use public roads, common land or any trails or paths intended for bicycles and the bike must be registered on the FIM competition list, which is a list agreed by all EU manufacturers for bikes used in off-road sport. Dealers must make the restricted access very clear to people who may believe they can use cycle trails."

    To recap

    · For an e-bike to be treated legally as a bicycle in the UK it must be 250W or less, must have pedals and the power assistance must cut out at 15.5mph. Anything else is treated in law as a moped.

    · Speed pedelecs are currently treated in UK law as mopeds, with no exemptions from moped requirements.

    · Anything over 250W and intended for off-road use is classified similarly to a motocross machine and must be FIM registered and can only go where regular motocross bikes are legally permitted to go.

    · Anything over 250W and intended for off-road use is classified as a motocross machine, must be on the FIM competition list and can only go where regular motocross bikes are legally permitted to go.

    The most recent guidance notes from the Department for Transport on electric bikes are available here

    *Type approval - Machines over 250W intended for on road use need to be 'type approved' and registered for the road. It doesn't matter how briefly a rider will be on the public road, an e-bike over 250W is a moped and needs to be registered as such.

    Type approval is now also required for the sale of new e-bikes with a "Twist and Go" throttle (i.e. the motor can operate up to 15.5mph without the rider pedalling) but which are otherwise below the 250W rated power and 15.5mph assist speed limits. Like other e-bikes in use, these machines are still treated in UK law as bicycles, except that the rider must be 14 or over.