At the moment, some state rider representative groups conduct their own events and do not take part in the International Ride to Work Day in June, which is inappropriate because is held in our winter.
Now, the Australian motorcycle industry has developed its own “National Ride Your Motorcycle to Work Week”, co-ordinated by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries with the co-operation of “all the major motorcycle brands”.
When we published an article in June calling for a national ride to work day, FCAI motorcycle spokesman Rhys Griffiths called us and said the article had galvanised their determination to create a national event. He said they had been thinking about it for years.
“It’s been a long gestation period, but right from the get-go it was agreed by all that it should be a slow burn, not rush at it like a bull-at-a-gate and then have it fall over because no one got on board,” he says.
The companies backing the initiative include all the major importers, including Frasers, PS Imports, Harley-Davidson, BMW, Can-Am, Indian, KTM, all the Japanese brands, and even the now-defunct Victory Motorcycles.
Non-participants are importers Urban Moto (MV Agusta, Royal Enfield, Benelli, Bimota, Gas Gas, Confederate) and Mojo Motorcycles (Kymco CFMoto, SWM, Sherco). Neither belongs to the FCAI and their sales are not officially counted in the official quarterly VFacts industry figures.
Rider representative groups
Rhys says they haven’t included the state and national rider representative groups in their planning, but says there is still potential for state groups to run their own awareness events at other times of the year.
“I did write to all states to ask what activities they had in their calendars, and there was a mixed results, with some states (NSW in particular) having a deal of activities, and some having next to nothing,” he says.
“The other issue was timing. We cannot coordinate with initiatives from the northern hemisphere, for obvious reasons, and even in Australia we have such a contrast in climate, that coordinating across the country is problematic. So it was decided that we should focus on the east coast, and on the ‘coming out of winter’ period.”
MCCNSW treasurer Steve Pearce confirmed they will promote the national event as part of their Motorcycle Awareness Month in NSW.
Motorcycle Riders Association of WA Road Safety Officer Dave Wright says the national event “would be a great initiative and would receive far more media coverage”.
“We would support and go along with holding an event in WA during this week in October and look forward to working with Rhys on this,” he says.
We couldn’t obtain comment from AMC chairman Shaun Lennard, but he had earlier told us they have been discussing a national event for some time.
“There has been talk at annual meetings about a national co-ordinated national promo or activity,” he said.
“A couple of states have pretty strong local awareness campaigns with some history, such as NSW and WA, and the ACT has their ‘Joe Rider’ awareness campaign in Spring which is going well.”
He said they would again discuss it at their annual meeting later this year.
National Ride Your Motorcycle to Work Week
Now, in a rare show of industry unity, motorcycle companies and dealers are working together to create a national event which will attract much more public, media and, more importantly government attention than piecemeal state-based events.
The “National Ride Your Motorcycle to Work Week” will run from October 8 to 15 under a dealer-focussed initiative.
During the week, dealers will offer a range of support services such as bike safety checks and advice on rider training.
A dedicated website has been launched which will include messages from, and images of, “many high-profile motorcycle ambassadors”.
It includes an events section where riders can create a “Ride to Work” event and invite like-minded people from their workplace, city, town or suburb to meet and organise a show of numbers for the October event.
There is also a dedicated Facebook page where riders can post images of their bike and related ride-to-work activities. Riders can follow the social media hashtag #RideToWorkWeek.
What do you think of an industry-driven national ride to work event? Leave your comments below.