In the past, I have criticised various industry organisations for, essentially, being out of touch with riders and reality. Well, it’s time to hand out a bouquet to go with the brickbats. The following is a press release I’ve just received from our industry association here in Australia (the FCAI has a motorcycle division). It points out a simple but potentially highly effective method for you to stay out of the way of the coronavirus while giving motorcycling a boost.
The Australian motorcycle industry and the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) are urging commuters to take to two-wheels with COVID-19 travel restrictions easing and people beginning to resume daily travel to their workplaces.
In Australia there are about 2.1 million licensed riders, and approximately 870,000 registered motorcycles and scooters (Australian Bureau of Statistics), meaning there are about 1.2 million licensed riders who can ride but currently don’t.
The industry hopes these inactive riders will use the pandemic as a prompt to take advantage of the many benefits of two-wheeled commuting.
With mass transit systems susceptible to contagion risk, personal transport has become the go-to option for many commuters. Motorcycle and scooter riders can mitigate infection risks, with two-wheeled transportation offering an effective means of maintaining social distance while enjoying a freeing and fun ride that ends with easy parking.
As the volume of vehicles on the roads increases to potentially beyond pre-pandemic levels, riders can also nimbly negotiate traffic and park conveniently, cutting commute times.
Nationwide, motorcycle and scooter dealers remain open to perform servicing and sales for riders wishing to make a return to the road.
FCAI Motorcycle Manager Rhys Griffiths said he hoped lapsed riders would return to their bikes as commuting rates increase.
“COVID-19 has changed the way we go about our lives. Motorcycles and scooters present a clever solution to the challenges the pandemic presents,” said Mr. Griffiths.
“A motorbike might well be the best way to maintain social distance without creating congestion. Riders can avoid the contagion risks presented by public transport, while cutting commute times by lane filtering through increased traffic.
“So the message is, get them out of the shed, get them serviced and get riding. If you haven’t got a bike, your local dealer is open for business.”
Riders are reminded to strictly observe all social distancing and contagion control requirements, and to regularly disinfect helmets, gloves and any high-touch surfaces on vehicle controls.
This is the kind of initiative I have been looking for from the industry for many years. Instead of thrashing out the obvious yet again or preaching, it puts forward a scheme to help literally everybody. It also has the potential to avoid some environmental damage.
Here in Sydney, the social distancing rules on public transport mean that buses and trains can carry only a tiny proportion of the usual number of commuters. As a result, those who cannot walk to work or ride a bicycle are taking their cars into the city. Several parks have had their grassy areas dedicated to parking as a result. You can imagine that the effect of car tyres on carefully tended lawns is not pretty.
Motorcycles and scooters, on the other hand, can use what hard ground surfaces are available much more economically because they take up so much less space. It’s a win-win for literally everybody, not least of course the motorcycle industry. They deserve their win!
(Photos The Bear)