MAG says: “riders want a licence to ride.”

“Riders want a licence to ride” is the comment from MAG regarding the MCIA’s “Licence to Net Zero” framing.  The actual priorities of motorcyclists – not the Net Zero agenda – should inform reform of the motorcycle licensing regime.  MAG has long called for reform but seeks to ensure that the interests of riders remain the real priority.

licence to ride

Earlier this week the MCIA called for reform of the motorcycle licensing regime in the UK, describing their proposals as “a licence for Net Zero”.  The campaign is supported by the Zemo Partnership and the National Motorcyclist Council. 

MAG points out that, as the largest representative body for motorcycle licence holders in the UK, they were not invited to help draft the campaign framing or its proposals, which has resulted in the organisation expressing concern about the framing.

MAG opposes Net Zero being framed as the primary driver and goal for motorcycle licence reform and has long been calling for licence reform for the benefit of new and potential riders.  MAG can demonstrate that these new riders are not motivated by Net Zero goals. 

Focus group research into the motivations of new riders conducted by the University of Nottingham and MAG showed that the primary motivations mentioned by riders do not include a desire to “be green”.  Referring to the key motivators, the research report states: “It appears that a key driver for wanting to ride PTWs as an adult is early, positive exposure to motorcycling or scootering in childhood. Several of our participants cited contact, in their early years, with relatives who rode as a key influence. Others cited the desire for a practical (and cheap) form of commuting, learning new and challenging skills, the sociability of the bike and scooter scene, and just having fun and a sense of freedom on the road.”

Research released by MAG in November 2022 concluded that the current licensing regime is suppressing the numbers of individuals riding motorcycles.  Additionally, it is having an adverse impact on young rider safety.  The report recommended a full review of the motorcycle licensing regime and that the review goal should be to increase “the conversion rate from CBT to full motorcycle licence holders.”

MAG is also expressing concern that the current licensing regime disincentivizes progression into legitimate and responsible riding as a full licence holder.  This may actually be pushing some individuals towards anti-social riding behaviour and even criminality. 

MAG is therefore calling for reformed licensing to promote better safety and to create a welcoming pathway for new riders wanting to enter the legitimate and responsible road riding community.  The current system creates a barrier that is a potential driver of antisocial behaviour and petty criminality.

MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, said:

“We all want reform of the motorcycle licensing regime.  Our priority is achieving the best outcome for new and potential riders – nothing more and nothing less.  We do not want to see any other priority leading the decision-making process.  The riders’ voice should be the most influential guide in generating any proposals, not other interest groups.  Reform of the licensing regime is not predicated on the green agenda.  It was needed before Net Zero became a thing.  It is not needed now simply because Net Zero targets have been set.  We want reform that works for new riders today and in the future.  That has little if anything to do with carbon emissions.  We have not had time to gather feedback on the MCIA proposals yet, but we will be doing that.  What we can say at this stage is that the MCIA framing is disappointing.”


MCIA Licence for Net Zero press release:

Joint University of Nottingham and MAG research into new rider motivations, aspirations and barriers to progress:

MAG report on motorcycle and car licence holders:

Photo by Kyle Bushnell on Unsplash