In July 2016, Brisbane rider Jeff Frampton (pictured) started a challenge for politicians to become involved in the motorcycle community, but his Australia-wide campaign failed to reach 200 signatures.
The open letter challenged Members of Parliament (MPs) to learn to ride or pillion on a motorcycle, and then tweet the achievement as #mpmcchallenge.
His simple idea failed to resonate with either the politicians or the motorcycle community.
It’s not a new idea. The Motorcycle Council of NSW organises a politicians ride as part of its annual Motorcycle Awareness Week.
However, Jeff provided a twist with the Twitter challenge.
Even as a new rider, Jeff could see that riders were being ignored or misunderstood in road safety campaigns, government planning and road rules because so few politicians actually ride.
“Feedback I received from motorcyclists during the campaign is they don’t trust the motives of politicians,” he says.
“They won’t even invite them down from their Tower of Power in Brisbane to sit on a motorcycle for the first time. How can a member of parliament represent their constituents if they can’t find common ground? How can a Minister for Transport or Road Safety make informed decisions about a matter if they depend exclusively on the advice of the bureaucrats?
“Ministers are supposed to hold the non-elected bureaucrats accountable; and be transparent about the basis for their decisions and actions. And yet we continue to see bureaucrats repeating the same strategies for solving a problem expecting a different outcome.
“This year we are no closer to bridging the divide with politicians, or casting light on public policies created by non-elected government officials. What’s needed is for our political leaders to challenge the status quo, seek new solutions to old problems, and use the results to form more effective policy.”
After nearly six months, Jeff’s petition still stands at just 190 signatures.
“If you haven’t signed the letter; I say don’t bother,” he says.
“It’s not worth repeating a failed experiment and expecting a different result. And don’t bother voting for a politician who hasn’t completed the #mpmcchallenge – which, so far, is all of them.”