In a landmark example of positive engagement between the Scottish Government and Britain’s leading riders’ rights organisation, the Motorcycle Action Group and officials in Transport Scotland have confirmed a change to planned regulations, in order to allow learner riders to continue using the existing Forth Road Bridge, even after the new road crossing opens in 2016.
The meeting, attended on MAG’s behalf by Scottish Representative Steve Wykes and MAG’s Comms & Public Affairs Director, Lembit Öpik, was the culmination of a nine month campaign to highlight the problems with closing access to the old bridge to learner riders on bikes of up to 125cc. Since the new crossing is a designated motorway, the ban on the old crossing would have forced these learners to make an additional 60 mile return journey. The change of heart means a saving of two hours a day for those originally faced with the detour.
Steve Wykes, who represents MAG in Scotland, is delighted with the breakthrough: ‘we took the issue to Alex Salmond MP in Westminster and Scottish Minister for Transport and Islands, Derek Mackay. We explained that, while this was probably just an oversight, it had enormous implications for learner riders, who use their bikes for commuting as well as learning. I have to say I’m hugely impressed with the common sense and intelligent engagement displayed by Mr Salmond and Mr Mackay. They did exactly what I had hoped – by listening to our concerns and acting upon them. I cannot praise their approach enough. It actually makes me quite proud of our politicians. It disproves the common assumption that politicians never listen. Alex Salmond and Derek Mackay certainly DID listen and we’re very grateful for the sincerity with which they have engaged with us.’
MAG will work with Transport Scotland in the months ahead to ensure the regulations allow all learner riders to continue to use the crossing in the years ahead.
Selina Lavender, Chair of The Motorcycle Action Group, ‘This is an excellent result for learner riders. It shows just how effective MAG is, a problem was identified, we spoke to the decision makers, we got riders involved and today we can say that MAG has won another victory for the motorcycling community. We thank the SNP for seeing that common sense prevailed in this instance, Stev Wykes (MAG’s Regional Rep for Scotland) for not letting this issue drop and everyone involved in highlighting this issue to the wider audience.’
Contact Steve Wykes
MAG Vice Chair
The Motorcycle Action Group Limited
Tel: 01926 844064
Fax: 01926 844065