Updated: Friday, 18th October 2019 @ 2:39pm

Motorcyclists have 'powerful voice in Parliament' thanks to 'rare breed' Manchester MP

Motorcyclists have 'powerful voice in Parliament' thanks to 'rare breed' Manchester MP

| By Abby Robinson

Manchester motorcyclists have praised Withington MP John Leech for his relentless attempts to improve road safety in the city.

Mr Leech, who is a member of the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), recently held a meeting with campaigners to understand the issues facing riders in the area.

He raised a number of issues including concerns about the dangerous road dividers, called armadillos, which present a hazard to all road users, especially those on two wheels.

Tony Cox, North West regional representative for MAG, said: “John Leech is part of that rare breed of politicians who are genuinely dedicated to doing the right thing and standing up for the rights of people who might otherwise suffer discriminatory treatment at the hands of the authorities.

“Bikers are certainly in that category. John’s strength of character and personal resolve mean that bikers in his constituency - and across Manchester as a whole - have a powerful voice in Parliament.

“We’re very pleased to have developed a close working relationship with him.”

Between 2011 and 2013, motorcyclists made up around one in five of all people killed or seriously injured in Greater Manchester, according to Drive Safe.

Across the UK, there were 328 motorcycle fatalities in 2012, a 9% decrease on the previous year.

That is the lowest on record according to the Department of Transport.

But despite that reduction, Mr Cox was keen to emphasise the changes which still need to come into effect, like scrapping the use of dangerous road dividers known as armadillos, which are particularly hazardous to those on two wheels.  

He said: “MAG does a great job of presenting the concerns and interests of motorcyclists and scooter riders in a way that makes compelling sense.

“Schemes like the poorly thought out ‘armadillo’ separators only serve to make the roads more dangerous for everyone, including cyclists.

“I’m keen to do my level best to get some common sense into highway’s policy.

“Working with MAG, I’m confident we can make a real difference to riders in Manchester, and that’s good for everyone who uses our roads.”

Mr Leech attended the Manchester Ultimate Custom Show in Central Manchester to speak with key MAG representatives, as well as meeting with veteran motorcycle campaigner, James Torrance, to talk about the issues facing riders in the region.  

32% of all motorcyclist casualties between 2011 and 2013 were fatal or serious in Greater Manchester, and the Government spends between £15bn and £32bn on accidents every year.

Charlotte, a 22-year-old motorcyclist from Wythenshawe, says she believes that other drivers are the main problem.

She told MM: “Bad drivers are everywhere. You can be the safest driver on the road but other drivers are the risk.

“The only thing that can stop that is stricter road laws on bad drivers changing lanes.

“They should be pulled over and given points if they are driving badly and erratically.”

Through the efforts of MAG and with support from prominent figures like John Leech, Mr Cox is positive that the right changes will come.

He said: “The city is lucky to have such a man as their spokesman in Westminster and MAG is fortunate to be working with such a champion for riders’ rights.

“Mr Leech welcomes riders to attend his constituency surgeries at any time and is here to help.”