Are motorcycles the way out of lockdown?

Motorcycles are best way to get Britain moving post-lockdown, says bike industry

Manufacturers tout motorbikes as safer alternative to public transport

THE RELAXING of the coronavirus lockdown and a desire to get the economy fired up again has posed a number of practical problems. One of the primary concerns, especially for those who live in cities, is how to commute to work while maintaining appropriate social distance.

Public transport is currently working at very limited capacity, due to social distancing regulations. Bicycles are being pushed as an alternative by the government, with schemes being set up in the UK’s cities to re-allocate road space from cars to bikes. Push bikes, though, are not suitable for those who have a long way to travel — or are exercise averse.

Cars, though practical, comfortable and capable of going long distances, cost a lot and, despite taking up a fair amount of road space, aren’t encouraged for ride-sharing right now due to the risk of virus transmission.

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) is currently pushing motorbikes as an “affordable, economical [and] fun” alternative. Alongside manufacturers, motorcycle publications and industry specialists, the association has recently launched the #UnlockYourFreedom campaign with a view to attracting new motorcyclists. Its mantra is: “The safest way to commute is in isolation, and the most isolated way of travelling is on two-wheels.”

Honda has also launched its Back to Work package, which aims to bring customers more familiar with its four-wheeled offerings over to its two-wheelers. It claims the discounts can save buyers up to £1,000 off the cost of a new motorbike.

Offers include a £200 discount on its PCX125 — the UK’s best-selling powered two wheeler (PTW) — and five other 125cc models, which is equivalent to the cost of taking your Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) and purchasing basic riding kit. If you have a driving licence, you only need to take your CBT — which it is possible to do in a day — in order to ride a 125cc bike.

All Honda’s 125cc bikes can do more than 130mpg, a figure that may be somewhat eye-widening to car enthusiasts.

The savings get bigger the more adventurous you get — if you’re after more power, Honda is offering £1,000 off its 1,100cc CRF1100L Africa Twin 20YM, which has a liquid-cooled, 8v, parallel-twin engine producing 100bhp.

MCIA CEO, Tony Campbell, said: “Powered Two Wheelers are the perfect solution to the current Government advice of avoiding public transport. We are looking to every biker, industry connection and two-wheeled advocate to get behind the campaign to open up powered two wheelers to the masses and highlight the very real benefits of travelling on two-wheels.”

The website of the #UnlockYourFreedom campaign, as well as helping you to find out what power of bike you can ride depending on your age and licence, can help you find the nearest training school.

The government is also rolling out trials of e-scooters in the UK’s cities. Classed as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs), they are currently illegal for use on public roads in the UK but are widely used in cities across Europe. Schemes to trial rentals of e-scooters in Coventry, Birmingham and Milton Keynes were brought forward from 2021 to this year by transport secretary Grant Shapps in response to the coronavirus crisis.

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