With winter on its way, with lately-fallen leaf litter thick upon the damp cold tarmac, now’s the perfect time to pull on your fur-lined leathers and to get out on the highway on your iron horse of choice.

And when you do, you’ll have the added inner glow that comes from knowing you’re doing ‘your bit’ to ease congestion. The Motor Cycle Industry Association MCIA recently revealed (not necessarily for the first time) that research shows that, if just 10% of all motorists switched from four wheels to two, congestion on our roads would fall by 40%.

If a quarter of all motorists switched to bikes, there would be no congestion at all. Anywhere.

If half of all motorists switched to bikes, the roads would feel weirdly forlorn and deserted. To the point where, some experts predict, we would have to start paying people drive cars around – or (for reasons of fuel economy, the environment, and extending the potential labour pool beyond those qualified for or capable of driving) simply to sit in stationary vehicles by the side of the road to make things feel more normal again.

Those are all actual facts. They’re from Belgium, but they’re still facts. And now, as if to prove exactly this point, motor cyclists are to be employed for the very first time ever to deliver fuel to four-wheel motorists who’ve been stuck on the M5 West Midlands Oldbury Contraflow for so long they’ve emptied their tanks just trying to keep warm and listen to Radio 2.

It’s all to do with this framework thingy that the MCIA has constructed, called the Motorcycle Safety and Transport Policy Framework, Realising the Motorcycle Opportunity (MSTPFRMO). The framework has been ‘partnered’ by the National Police Chiefs Council (Nat-Po-Chi-Co) and by Highways England (HE), the body responsible for the UK’s network of strategic roads.

As the name hints, the MSTPFRMO framework is geared to realising the opportunity of the motor cycle. The Oldbury fuel ferrying thing is just one example of how the motor cycle can play a vital role in things like safety and strategy and roads, because it is the natural enemy of congestion and can weave in an out of stationary or semi-stationary traffic (a manoeuvre technically known as filtering or filleting or something) with relative impunity.

Highways man Alastair Worms says of the MCIA’s bike-back jerry-can service, which has helped out with 17 ‘fuel-related incidents’ since the beginning of August, ‘By offering this type of assistance we are able to minimise disruption’, and the MCIA says ‘We’re pleased to be of service. Now do you believe bikes are great?!’ or something.


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