A Motorcycle Safety and Transport Policy Framework
- Improve the range of transport mobility options for the public
- Increase uptake of motorcycles as lower congesting and polluting vehicles
- Encourage development of the sector to improve transport choice
- Improving knowledge of the ‘motorcycle economy’
Summary of Actions
Action 27: To Establish Incentives for Ultra Low Emission Motorcycles
Action 28: To Create Wider Awareness of the Motorcycle Industry’s Contribution to the UK Economy and its Contribution to Jobs and Growt
Action 29: To Establish a ‘Motorcycle to Work Scheme’ to Incentivise Motorcycle Commuting
Improved access for motorcyclists, and explicit recognition of the role of motorcycling in transport policy, will enable economic and social benefits, including reduced overall transport costs to individuals and business, plus increased mobility and lower emissions.
An expanding motorcycle industry means job opportunities and economic progress. UK plc will benefit. The industry contributes to growth in a wide range of related sectors, such as manufacturing, parts manufacture and supply, accessory manufacture and supply, machining, product ‘finishing’ and the protective clothing and helmet industries. The tourism and sport industries also benefit. This in turn provides careers, not only for those who build motorcycles and their components, but also to a wide range of logistics, transportation, sales, maintenance, motorcycle equipment businesses and service support businesses and industries. The same applies to non-motorcycle sectors which benefit from motorcycle related economic activity.
In 2010, the MCIA commissioned GHK (now ICF International) to write a report into the economic activity of the motorcycle industry. This report was updated by ICF in 2014. It was estimated that there are approximately 1.3 million motorcycles and 1.2 million motorcyclists in the UK.
The total stock of UK motorcycles experienced significant growth over the last 20 years, almost doubling in size, and peaked in 2008/09. It has since declined by around 4% to 2012 but remains higher than all years up to 2006. There were early signs that sales of new motorcycles and scooters and the overall stock of motorcycles were both returning to growth in 2014 (at the time of the report). There is significant potential for further growth as levels of motorcycle ownership in the UK are amongst the lowest in Europe.
The Economic Significance of the UK Motorcycle Industry
The updated report showed the UK motorcycle industry is of considerable size with net annual sales of approximately £5.3 billion and has a significant impact on the UK economy, generating added value of more than £2 billion per annum. For comparison, this adds more value to the UK economy than many sectors such as agriculture, forestry and fishing activities or the performing arts for example.
The industry directly employs more than 58,500 people in 5,700 businesses, which is more than each of the following: agriculture, forestry and fishing activities; the manufacture of pharmaceuticals; the manufacture of textiles; retailers of jewellery and watches; retailers of automotive fuels, lubricants and cooling products; veterinaries; performing arts; the market research sector; and taxi driving.
Value of UK Motorcycle Industry
(Source: MCIA/ICF, * Includes VAT, income and corporation tax, fuel and vehicle excise duties)
Other key economic benefits include:
- Tax contributions of more than £1 billion per year;
- Average wages of £20,400 across the whole industry, £22,800 in the support services and £26,100 in manufacturing sectors;
- A significant and increasing contribution to exports of £450 million per annum; and
- Supply chain impacts support an additional £860 million of Gross Value Added (GVA) and 16,400 FTE jobs in the UK economy.
In total, the industry is estimated to support £2.9 billion of GVA and 75,000 jobs in the UK economy, directly within the industry and indirectly through purchases of goods and services from other UK industries.
The overall GVA of the motorcycle industry has increased since 2008 in nominal terms but has decreased by 3% in real terms, due to the economic downturn, which is similar to the recent performance across the UK economy as a whole. Sales in the industry have declined in real terms and sales growth has been insufficient to keep pace with rising costs. This has squeezed wages and profits in the industry and many businesses have had to reduce the size of their workforce. The overall effect has been a decline in employment and the value added by the motorcycle industry in real terms.
The largest declines have been experienced in the distribution and retail sub-sectors, which is also the case across the wider economy. However, much of the UK motorcycle industry has demonstrated resilience despite the difficult economic conditions. UK motorcycle manufacturers, for example, have shown particular resilience and UK exports of motorcycles have continued to increase despite a slight decline in UK production.
Motorcycles are an important part of local business and the economy in developing countries in particular and in developed nations sport has positive economic impacts in areas where activities are held. By way of an example, motorcycle sport in the UK was estimated to contribute £0.75billion to the UK economy in 2010.
Besides sport itself, leisure is also an important sector. ICF’s report shows that:
- The average motorcyclist in the UK undertakes at least 4.4 leisure day trips and 2.1 overnight stays per annum, equating to 5.3 million day trips and overnight trips of 2.5 million nights each year;
- Around 109,000 riders from the UK take tourism-related motorcycling trips abroad each year, compared to 46,000 international riders visiting the UK;
- Domestic tourism spending relating to motorcycling (excluding expenditure relating to the motorcycle sports and leisure sub-sector) is estimated to be £562 million in the UK (2012 prices);
- Overseas motorcycling tourists are estimated to account for £28 million of expenditures in the UK – which gives rise to an additional economic impact at the national level. This excludes expenditures of overseas visitors at UK sports and leisure events; and
- The total tourism spending associated with motorcycling is estimated to support 13,200 FTE tourism jobs in the UK, of which approximately 650 are supported by expenditure from overseas motorcycling visitors.
Although figures vary from region to region, especially for the retail sector, it is estimated that worldwide up to four million people are employed by the motorcycle industry. Motorcycling and the industry is therefore an important part of global efforts to realise economic growth as the world emerges from the economic downturn after 2008.
Increased sales and market size mean economic growth, more jobs and more income to the state that should be recognised and welcomed by government and society.
In order to support such growth, it is clear that much needed safety actions for motorcycles need to be strongly linked to other policy actions to support this mode of transport and leisure, thus enabling motorcycling as a whole to achieve its full economic and social potential – plus enhancing the existing contribution to UK economic recovery.
Examples such as Wheels to Work (W2W) and the positive experience of safety across the W2W network illustrates how support for motorcycles can lead to wider social benefits in reducing exclusion and improving access to work in rural areas.