Rapid growth in the number of towns declaring themselves motorcycle friendly could devalue the term’s status, says Australian Motorcycle Council (AMC) chairman Shaun Lennard (pictured above).
“This is something good in the world of motorcycling, but the idea is still only small,” he says.
“There are only a handful of places that use this term now.
“Riders can feel that there is some good reason and benefits in going to a particular place where they are made to feel welcome.
“The problem is that with no control it will randomly appear and lose its value.
“Someone could say I’ve got a picture of Mick Doohan on my wall, so therefore I’m a motorcycle friendly cafe.
“We run risk that the tag will be diminished with no criteria. People will arrive at a town or business that is motorcycle friendly and think ‘what did I get?’.”
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Shaun was commenting after a recent MotorbikeWriter reader poll showed that riders did not want regulation of motorcycle friendly status like RV Friendly Town status.
“Towns might decide they want to do the right thing by riders and go to someone to ask what criteria is necessary, but who would they go to?” says Shaun who was instrumental in assisting with the first motorcycle friendly region, Glamorgan Spring Bay in Tasmania.
Shaun says it would be ideal to have a national body assisting towns.
“National branding would be good so it is the same across the nation and easily identifiable by riders,” he says.
“In the RV community there is an expected standard for an RV Friendly Town. They have some idea of what they will get.
“Riders would have expectations of what they might get in a Motorcycle Friendly Town, but there is no common ground or national benchmark so it would vary from location to location which could diminish its status.
However, Shaun says a state structure “would also make sense”.
The Motorcycle Council of NSW has setup a committee to look into motorcycle friendly criteria.
Wauchope has declared itself a Motorcycle Friendly Town
Shaun says he is aware riders do not like laws and regulations.
“Riders don’t want unnecessary rules,” he says.
“Without wanting to be a generalisation we are a free-spirited lot and we don’t like extra levels of bureaucracy.
“The issue is that it is easy for a town to call themselves motorcycle friendly, but what are the criteria? Who governs or controls this?”
Avon Valley is the first motorcycle friendly region
Shaun plans to raise the issue at the next annual meeting of the AMC in late august or September.
“We will definitely discuss it and look at some way the Australian Motorcycle Council could administer it or at least set up some national structure.
“It’s not necessarily a negative thing. It would be a way of making motorcycle touring a better experience for riders.”
Shaun says that the Glamorgan Spring Bay tourist board asked the AMC for criteria.
“I was invited to go and speak to about 60 people about the sorts of things that might be good and what they could look at,” he says.
“In a way, that is the level of structure it might be.”