What’s so great about biking?


More from those freewheelin’ funsters at the Motor Cycle Industry Association, who, in their latest press release, bent over backwards to hollow themselves out into a veritable mine of information on matters bikes and biking:

“Why do bikers bike?” the Associates asked themselves rhetorically. This calls for a survey, somebody inevitably decided. And, lo, there was a survey. So what is it people like about riding a Motor Cycle?

Is it because they want to go fast?

Not really (4%).

Because they are looking for thrills?

Not so much (4%).

Er, for the adventure?

Not really (4%).

I know: it’s because they want to save money and/or can’t afford a proper vehicle with the standard number of wheels!

You are still pitifully wide of the mark (9%).

Look, this is all getting pretty tedious.

This is Bankstone News, remember!

Could you maybe just tell me?

Well, since you ask, the top three things bikers like about biking are, number one: Freedom (26%), number two: practicality (23%), number three: it’s a friendly form of transport (18%). Others like it because it is fun (11%).

Thank you for those startling revelations. Got anything else?

Well, the same You Gov survey from which the above gems were excavated reveals that one third of 24-34 year olds are jealous of motorcycles passing freely though stationary traffic, as are one fifth of all Southerners (stop whingeing and buy a bike, we say without even being sponsored by the MCIA or Devitt). Car drivers and bus passenger are the most jealous of motorcycles passing freely though.

Enough with the jealousy already!

OK, how about this nugget: One-third of commuters are ‘sometimes’ late for work because of traffic and congestion, whereas 67% of bikers are “never” late for work!

Correct me if I am wrong, but 100 minus 67 leaves 33, making bikers precisely average in their late-for-work propensity.

You may have a point. But I bet they could get there on time if they wanted! Oh, hang on, here’s some solid gold statistics to get your teeth into:

FACT: The active UK rider population is 1.5 million and an estimated 3.8 million people in the UK have a driving licence with a moped/motorcycle entitlement.

FACT: 14% of the people who took their test in 2007/08 were women: 12,061 of them in all, compared with 75,884 men.

FACT: 17% more people passed their test in 2007/08 than in 2006/07 and
20% more people passed their test in 2008/09 than in 2007/08.

FACT: Motorcycle commuters can cut their journeys by 12% compared with car drivers – up to 34% in London (Source: Regional Transport Statistics 2008).

FACT: A typical scooter consumes between 55% and 81% less fuel than a car on the same journey.

FAT: The motorcycle industry in the UK employs more than 15,000 people and turns over in excess of £3 billion a year.

So we should all get out there on 15th July for the MCIA-sponsored National Ride to Work Day.


Full details of where Bankstone’s Monkey Monopoly bike convoy will be at what time this Sunday have now been confirmed (see below). All timings are all 24hr clock. For updates on the day (8 July) please call the Monkey Monopoly hotline on: 0870 420 3422

– Bankstone Limited, Brighouse 7:00 (coffee and bacon butties)
– The Huddersfield Daily Examiner, Huddersfield 7:14
– National Coal Mining Museum, Wakefield 7:33
– The Star, Sheffield 8:15
– Doncaster Station, Doncaster 8:58 (rider change-over)
– The Humber Bridge, Hessle 10:03
– Wilberforce House Museum, Hull 10:28 (rider change-over)
– Yorkshire Tourist Board, York 11:36 (rider change-over)
– Jorvik Viking Centre, York 11:47
– York Minster, York 11:55
– Castle Howard, Malton 12:32
– Heartbeat location Goathland, 13:21 (rider change-over)
– Lewis and Cooper, Northallerton 14:44 (rider change-over)
– Taylors of Harrogate, Harrogate 15:42
– Cow and Calf, Ilkley 16:31 (rider change-over)
– The Woolpack, Esholt 16:52
– Leeds Bradford International Airport, Yeadon 17:12 (home of the YAA)
– Bradford City AFC, Bradford 17:39
– Butterfield Signs Limited, Bradford 17:49
– Horizon Recruitment Limited, Bradford 17:58
– Leeds Prison, Leeds 18:19
– Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Leeds 18:34
– Galaxy 105, Leeds 18:47
– Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Leeds 18:47
– Yorkshire Post, Leeds 19:00
– Yorkshire Evening, Post, Leeds 19:00 (rider change-over)
– Biffa Waste Services Limited, Leeds 19:26
– Yorkshire Electricity Distribution, Leeds 19:55
– Leeds United Football Club, Leeds 20:03
– Halifax Train Station, Halifax 20:40
– Bankstone Limited, Brighouse 21:02 (beer and barbeque)


Pictures just arrived at Monkey Monopoly control centre show Richard Neve of Fletchers Solicitors (Bikelegal) going through a somewhat unconventional warm-up routine for the event at the Historic Motor Show in Southport recently. Our grainy image captures Richard doing 40mph in front of the startled inhabitants of Southport, who might have been expecting something a little less contemporary and more sedate! He has asked us to stress that this took place under properly supervised conditions, on private land, and with all appropriate safety precautions taken‚ and that we should not try this at home!

Advanced monkey riding in Southport


Bankstone’s charity fundraiser Monkey Monopoly (once round Yorkshire on a fleet of half a dozen 90cc monkey bikes) is set to be televised. Channel M’s The Biker Show will be on hand on the 8 July to film the flotilla as it traces a route that has now grown to 450 miles following last minute route changes to take in faster roads.

Biker Show presenter Natalie Quirk has even volunteered to ride one of the legs herself. And in a bid to capture the event from a first hand perspective Bankstone director Andy Jones is steeling himself for the prospect of having a camera attached directly to his helmet!

Our photo shows some of the Monkey Monopoly riders in a practice session at the Leeds Bradford airport headquarters of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance service, when the Biker Show’s cameras last visited the team, along with those of Calendar TV, the local BBC channel.

For further details on the Biker Show click here

Popular TV show the Monkies


Specialist motorcycle insurance claims and financial services company Bankstone has launched a new warranty product offering a unique set of benefits to dealers and their customers.

Bankstone Warranty‚ developed after lengthy consultation with dealers and previewed at the Motorcycle Trade Expo 2006 at Stoneleigh Park earlier this year‚ is the first product to combine all the key items on dealers’ wish list:

• really competitive pricing‚ to maximise dealers’ profits
• fully computer generated‚ minimising paperwork
• flexible cover and terms‚ to suit customers’ needs
• ability to include with sale and then up-sell‚ or sell as an add-on
• no regulatory restrictions on sale‚ unlike other warranty products

Bankstone Warranty is the only warranty product dealers can sell without applying to be regulated as an insurance provider. It offers a valuable additional revenue stream, is virtually admin-free and is backed by comprehensive support from Bankstone.

Bankstone director Dickon Tysoe says: “The regulations covering the sale of warranty products have tightened up a lot since the beginning of last year, leaving a real gap in the market. Bankstone Warranty helps dealers broaden their product range, raise additional income, and offer their customers security and peace of mind.”

Fellow director Andy Jones adds: “Selling Bankstone Warranty offers dealers a hassle-free source of additional sales and workshop profit. There has been massive interest already: we have signed up 50 active dealers around the UK, and expect that figure to rise to 250 by the end of the year. This is the first of several exciting products we have in the pipeline for dealers.

“Selling Bankstone Warranty helps dealers ensure a high level of customer satisfaction and loyalty,” he continues, “combining complete protection, flexibility and peace of mind. It is available as 3, 6, 12 and 24 month plans.

“Working closely with dealers is very much what Bankstone is about. We aim to support our key dealer partners wherever possible with bike replacement referrals generated by our rapidly expanding insurance claims management business. We are always looking to develop mutually profitable partnerships with dealers.”

Dealers can access further details and register online at Bankstone’s website www.bankstone.co.uk or call Bankstone on 0871 424 3922.


Handling motorcycle insurance claims requires a completely different set of skills to four-wheeled motor claims. Although there are only around 1.2 million motorcycles in the UK, compared with perhaps 28 million cars, adopting a specialist approach to motorcycle claims still makes compelling sense for brokers and insurers active in the sector.

What makes motorcycle claims so different? One key difference is owners’ attitude to their machines. More than 80 per cent of motorcycles are second vehicles. They are a hobby, often a passion ‚ not a primary mode of transport. Car owners are often largely indifferent to the inner workings of their vehicles. Not so motorcycle owners. They typically have a much deeper level of knowledge and understanding of their machines.

Motorcycle claims arise in fundamentally different ways to standard motor claims. Bikes behave differently on the road ‚ leading to different types of accidents and collisions which claims people need to understand if they are to handle claims effectively. Motorcycles are also subject to radically different damage and theft claims profiles to other road vehicles.

Motorcycle repair is a highly specialised business, requiring expert knowledge, specialist skills and equipment. Getting motorcycle repairs right is far more critical than other motor repairs. If there is a problem with a car repair, the owner can usually simply drive it back ‚ or at worst pull over and wait for recovery. A faulty bike repair can lead to serious injury or death.

The vast majority of staff in motor claims front-end environments have little or no detailed understanding of motorcycles. They will not know a lever from a peg, a swinging arm from a hero blob ‚ let alone the typical damage patterns if a Honda Fireblade lands on one side rather than the other. This lack of specialist understanding represents a missed opportunity to gather data efficiently, to handle claims effectively, and to build rapport with the client. If in-house staff do not have the necessary specialisation, it will often make sense to outsource to a white-labelled third-party service provider that does.

When it comes to repair, again, there is a huge difference between the standard motor claims approach and one appropriate to motorcycles. It is not uncommon for motor insurers to have panels of several hundred repairers and body shops around the UK. Some of these will have ‚ or profess to have ‚ specific experience in repairing bikes. In reality, there are not many more than a dozen independent repairers in the country with an outright specialisation in motorcycles who have the expertise and who have invested in the specialist machinery and equipment (e.g. for straightening or jigging frames, realigning the headstock, plastic welding, paint matching, or X-raying critical parts) to offer a genuinely bike-specific service. The logistics of routing all motorcycle repairs through such specialists require some management ‚ but there are very strong arguments for doing so.

Whilst the instinct of non-specialist repairers (or repairers linked to bike dealerships) is often to replace any damaged part, a specialist will quickly recognise what can be repaired more cost-effectively. Often this can cut repair costs by as much as 25 per cent and dramatically compress timescales. Through an expertly managed specialist motorcycle claims infrastructure, it is possible to arrange expanded recovery radiuses five to six times over the industry norm. Dedicated motorcycle repairers also have the specialist recovery and delivery equipment to ensure safe collection and delivery ‚ avoiding the all-too-common scenario where a bike that was repairable at the scene of an accident is a write-off by the time it arrives at a motor body shop after a roller-coaster ride in the back of a truck.

Again, when it comes to the engineers who inspect the damage on the carrier’s behalf, specialisation is the key. Understandably motor insurers do not tend to have the volume to establish a nationwide network of dedicated bike engineers ‚ but working with a third-party specialist can achieve the same benefits. The average motor engineer is unlikely to have the knowledge to challenge any bike repair estimate with which the body shop presents them, whereas a competent and educated motorcycle engineer can protect the account considerably. In terms of fraud prevention and non-disclosure, they will also be able to identify non-standard parts such as racing suspension, wheels and bodywork that other engineers would miss. This gives the carrier the option of re-rating or repudiating, either of which puts money back in the pot.

Working with closely managed and trusted repairer partners it is perfectly possible today to operate an effective remote engineering function. Half a dozen digital images supplied by the repairer including plates, clock and main areas of damage from a variety of angles can enable expert bike engineers to carry out desktop engineering ‚ cutting costs by 50 per cent or more and cutting timescales by up to 48 hours.

Another key component in the motorcycle claims process is replacement. Working with a partner who can source any type of bike at a cost well below retail prices allows the insurance provider to offer a replacement that will be acceptable to the policyholder (assuming their expectations have been expertly managed further up the chain) thereby retaining a satisfied customer for renewal. Where a stolen or written-off bike elicits only a disappointingly small settlement cheque, the odds are it won’t go to fund another bike ‚ and yet another customer will be lost forever (one more set of leathers left to languish in the loft). Statistics suggest that the lost customer would not have had another claim for an average 4-5 years ‚ even before taking account of their greater security and safety consciousness following an incident. Consequently the opportunity to recover some of the claims cost in premiums is missed to both the insurer and broker.

Across all these stages in the claims process ‚ and many others too numerous or detailed to set out here ‚ specialisation is the key to operating profitably in the motorcycle insurance market. If considerations of scale prevent brokers or insurers establishing their own specialist infrastructures, it is well worth considering working with specialist providers who can offer the relevant specialist services on an outsourced basis.

– Andy Jones, Director, Bankstone Limited

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