Sammy is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on motorcycling and attended a meeting in Westminster to hear from the' We Ride London' group and engage in discussions as to how motorcycling was being made more dangerous as a result of transport policies and also how with the right measures motorcycles could play a greater role in relieving traffic congestion in cities. Given the horrific record of Belfast in the UK traffic congestion performance figures the issues discussed had particular relevance to Northern Ireland.
One of the spokesmen for the group which represented ordinary daily commuters who use motorcycles to get to work, do their business and enjoy social activities in London (of whom I am one), was Charlie Boorman of "Long way Round" and "Long way down" fame.
Motor cycles take up less road space, less parking space, are less polluting than other forms of transport and are more suitable as vehicles for journeys which are undertaken by one person. The sad fact is that after pedestrians, motorcyclists are more likely to be involved in fatal accidents and ironically transport policies have made the situation worse sometimes as a result of deliberate decisions.
Whilst this does not apply to Northern Ireland, where as a result of decisions made by Peter Robinson bus lanes are open to motorcyclists in many UK cities, this is not the case and confusingly in London access depends upon which borough you are driving in.
The policy of creating dedicated cycle lanes has narrowed roads making filtering more hazardous and where these lanes are lightly segregated with raised kerbs or paint additional hazards are created. It would seem that some engineers have deliberately introduced design policies to make motor cycling in cities face the same restriction as cars.
Whilst considerable expenditure has been put into providing dedicated parking for cyclists the provision of secure parking for motor cycles remains sparse, a factor which deters many motorcyclists from using their bikes for commuting to work or shopping.
Whilst billions of pounds has been spent on providing specialist facilities for cyclists, motorcycling has been neglected right across the UK either because of ignorance by policy makers or prejudice against motorcycling as a form of transport.
This year has seen one of the biggest increase in motor cycles sales especially amongst first time riders it is time transport policy properly reflected this group.