At the 2012 Isle of Man TT, the Lightweight race, reintroduced this year for SuperTwin machines, is to be sponsored by a UK Government e-petition – BikerPetition.co.uk.
Many leading riders have entered the bikerpetition.co.uk Lightweight TT race including Ryan Farquhar, Michael Rutter, Michael Dunlop, Cameron Donald, Ian Lougher and Simon Andrews.
The online campaign, which is spearheaded by Bennetts, the Official Insurance Partner of the Isle of Man TT, is already more than one-third of the way to reaching the target of 100,000 signatures and has gathered support from three of the industry’s most influential organisations, the MCI, BMF, and MAG.
The petition urges the UK Government to help increase awareness of bikers on UK roads by ensuring that motorcycle-related questions are made compulsory in the driving test. While motorcyclists account for only 1% of road traffic they fall victim to almost 20% of fatalities and the current system of random selection means that some road users are able to pass their driving test without ever answering a question related to motorcycling.
As an official TT race sponsor the campaign will be the title sponsor of the race and receive high profile name checks on the TT television coverage. It will also receive branding on the startline banners, podium backdrop and additional positions to increase awareness, together with coverage on the official website, iomtt.com, and in the official Race Guide.
Motorcycle Industry Association Director of Safety and Training Karen Cole said:
“This is a very simple and sensible change that will make a difference. Many road casualties could be avoided if drivers were more aware of motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users.”
“Even the addition of just one mandatory question in the Drivers Theory Test specifically about motorcycles will force drivers to ‘think bike’ from a very early stage, encouraging good driving habits, which can only be a good thing for both drivers and riders.”
Motorcycle Action Group Campaigns Manager Paddy Tyson added:
“MAG continues to work very closely with the DSA and the DfT, because as training continues to improve for riders, there are very simple, cost effective procedures which could be in place to help avoid the nearly 2/3rds of motorcycle accidents caused by inattentive driving, such as ensuring questions relating to bikers are a compulsory element of the driving test.”
BMF's Government Relations Executive Chris Hodder said raising awareness of motorcyclists among motorists would help cut crashes.
“Since inattentiveness by other road users causes the majority of motorcycle accidents, the BMF has consistently called for further initiatives to raise the awareness of all vulnerable road users.”
“With over 1.3 million motorcycles on Britain's roads it's incredible that prospective drivers can currently pass the test without answering a single question relating to motorcyclists. We would encourage all our members to sign this petition.”
Bennetts Associate Director Hannah Squirrell concluded:
“We’re delighted to have received support from the three main industry organisations as well as enhancing our existing partnership with the Isle of Man TT with what will surely be one of the highlights of the event.”
“The campaign has all motorcyclists in mind and can only be beneficial to every rider and everyone associated with the industry.”