Oxfordshire council survey says motorcyclists 'danger to selves'

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Motorcyclists took part in a "ride of respect" in Oxfordshire for Thames Valley Police PC Andrew Harper

A council that described motorcyclists as a "danger to themselves" in a transport survey has been criticised for its "brutal" bias.

Oxfordshire County Council also suggested motorbikes were "environmentally unsound".

Biker Mark McArthur-Christie said bikes were not "some niche interest", while the British Motorcyclists Federation said it was "seriously concerned" by the allegations.

The authority has apologised.

"This was not the intention but I accept that it was construed this way," said Yvonne Constance, cabinet member for environment.

'Howls of protest'

The Local Transport and Connectivity Plan stated that motorbikes "are mostly still using fossil fuels to run, meaning they are environmentally unsound, not sustainable, and contribute to air pollution".

It also said "statistical evidence suggests motorcyclists are a danger to themselves".

Mr McArthur-Christie, who commutes via motorbike to London from his home in Oxfordshire, described the comments as "brutal" and "pretty biased".

"Had it gone after cyclists and caricatured them, [then] the howls of protest would have been heard from out here in Bampton," he said.

Mr McArthur-Christie described motorbikes as a "vital way of getting around".

He added: "The standards for modern motorcycles and modern cars are now exactly the same, so they're both very clean.

"One of the keys to all of this is bikes don't need much - we don't need special lanes, special facilities, or special treatment. Just let us get on with it and we'll quite happily solve the pollution and congestion problems."

British Motorcyclists Federation chairman Jim Freeman described the survey as "appalling, discriminatory bias".

In a statement, Ms Constance said the paper "set out to give a relatively short overview of motorcycle matters in Oxfordshire today".

She said its goal was "not to set out firm positions on transport but to welcome the views of residents".

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