MP motorcycle challenge fails

#MPMCChallenge organiser Jeff Frampton challenge

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.

Twitter challenge

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.

Mark Frampton on his Honda CB300F challenge
Mark Frampton on his Honda CB300F

“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?

Local and state pollies pillion to the opening of Texas as the first mainland Motorcycle Friendly town in 2013 - public challenge
Local and state pollies pillion to the opening of Texas as the first mainland Motorcycle Friendly town in 2013

“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.”

11 Comments

  1. Jeff’s repeating the dubious anti-bike statistics trotted out all the time by police. No wonder his petition’s not popular.

    1. Dubious? I used data from the Australian Road Deaths Database (May 2016). If there is an anti-bike culture in government, how do you propose to change that Mr Obvious?

  2. The problem with this idea is that if you give politicians a little taste of motorcycling they may go away thinking that they now know what it is all about and are qualified to make decisions about our future. Giving them a pillion ride would teach them very little, and it is very likely that some of them would feel scared and vulnerable and then impose unnecessary restrictions on us. It they get their licence and become motorcyclists they would then be new riders who lack experience, skill, knowledge and understanding.

    Politicians have to make a lot of decisions on things they know little about. The only rational approach to this is to be advised by experts. In this case the experts are the highly experienced motorcyclists. But as well as a lot of years and kilometres behind them these experts need to have a lot of diversity of experience, or at least a good understanding of the broad diversity that exists in motorcycling. We get a lot of comments on these pages from riders who are only thinking about their own sector of motorcycling. Some people, for example, may only ever ride cruisers, or sports bikes, and some are only recreational riders who only ride on good roads in good weather. We need regulations that suit all motorcyclists and the only way to achieve this is to be given more freedom and less restrictions.

    1. Sorry Motorain, I beg to disagree.

      Pollies base their discussions upon advice, from Police, and Road authorities, By getting some first hand experience of the subject of motorcycling would very quickly put paid to some of the most outlandish crap, that is sold to the pollies.

      1. MotoRain – This idea wasn’t about being a silver bullet, it was about making a connection with the decision-maker.

        It’s true there’s no telling what experiences a polly would have engaging with the motorcycling community or how this may influence them positively or negatively.

        But as motorcyclists are missing in Austroads reports, detailed crash investigations, proper standards for motorcycle safety gear, advanced training that (for commercial reasons) only appeals to what riders want and not what they need… there are many gaps that need to be filled.

        As GOB already mentioned, pollies rely on the advice of authorities and maintaining the status quo.

        As Bob mentioned, suppose the current pollies never intend to represent us. The government only release statistics, and funds research, that confirms their biases.

        I’m an inexperienced rider and I don’t have the answers. I have a lot of questions, and I want the people responsible to start answering.

        Cheers
        Jeff

        1. “advanced training that (for commercial reasons) only appeals to what riders want and not what they need”

          Jeff, I totally agree that this is one of our biggest problems. It appears that the rider training that is available is inadequate. I have never done a training course. They didn’t exist when I started riding, and for much of my life I have lived where I don’t have easy access to them. But I have read a lot of articles written by instructors who are supposed to be experts, most of them ex-racers. All of the advice seems to be about how to go fast on a race track, and not about how to deal with the hazards of the real world.

  3. Hi Jeff,
    Your motives were good mate, Your intended participants are only interested in if there is free drinks in the back of their limo’s. My best advice to you regarding road safety on a bike is to make yourself the decision maker. You were inventive enough to try for a good and admirable thing so feel proud about that. In this article it’s stated that you are a relatively new rider. It’s inevitable that learning mistakes will be made, just make sure that they are minor ones that you learn from and not end up as a motif on the grill of a Semi. It looks like you are genuinely trying to do it right judging by the photos in the article also, because you are geared up sensibly and not a shorts tee shirt and thongs idiot. My advice is forget the pollies and ride to conditions and enjoy your 2 wheels mate.
    Cheers Bob K

    1. Thanks Bob
      It is frustrating to see the resources at the disposal of governments, and yet, it’s up to us as individuals and our limited resources to advance our communities.

      For another day.

      Cheers
      Jeff

  4. Hey Jeff.

    Magic word. Persistence.

    Keep on knocking on doors bloke, and when they open the door shove the boot in so they can not shut the door.

    The story of Robert the Bruce and the spider, comes to mind.

    You’re on a good thing. You’re going to have many more disappointments before you get an airing.

    Your situation is like that of a young bloke I knew some 40 years back, and the subject of motorcycle lobbying. He most certainly didn’t take a win first time round, however he knew he was right, as you are, and he kept on keeping on. And he did eventually take some serious wins for the motorcycle community, from being doggedly persistent.

    Jeff I sincerely hope you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off, regroup and go back in again and again, to take the win that you and motorcycling deserves.

    Motorcycling needs young smart blood, like yourself.

    Good luck fella.
    GOB

    1. Hey GOB
      Thanks for your support this year.

      I haven’t given up. This issue is too important to ignore, and I’m reminded of the consequences of poor policy every week.

      I just need to find a better approach, and more support.

      Cheers
      Jeff

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