Biker Discrimination - Ban On Off Road Biking
The war between bikers and the government rages on. This time it's off road enthusiasts that are facing the consequences from new laws which could mean the end to the majority of off road events.
Under current law farmers can claim a subsidy from the government for making their land available for many different out door pursuits. These pursuits include:
Hot air ballooning
Car boot sales
Until recently motor sports were also included in these categories. A change in the law brought about by DEFRA (Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs) has seen off road motor sports struck off the list.
This has come as a massive blow to the off road community and farmers alike. A farmer could expect to receive £210 for each acre of land they made available for countryside pursuits. This can mean a farmer with a large plot of land measuring 10 acres would lose £2100 a year by making the land available for motor cross. The result is that farmers will no longer feel it is financially viable to supply land for motor sports with no subsidy from the government subsequently damaging and maybe even killing the sport.
For all those responsible bikers who pay their road tax and bike insurance each year and who make the effort to ride on approved sites at the weekend I'm afraid the fun stops here. This is not to say that all sites will disappear, site charges will have to increase to cover the farmer's costs and the amount of sites will fall dramatically resulting in the sport becoming less accessible to a lot of people.
DEFRA's reasoning behind the ban is that they will not subsidise an activity that is not environmentally sustainable. However they will still subsidise for activities which in my eyes are also not environmentally sustainable like deer stalking and hunting. The fact is that if the government bothered to check a lot of these motor sport sites will now go unmanaged which leads to a reduction in the bio-diversity.
The other problem that arises is that by reducing the amount of recognised sites for off road motor sports we could see an increase in the illegal use of green lanes by un-responsible off road enthusiasts.
With the majority of bikers acting responsibly and making sure that their road tax and bike insurance are all up to date maybe the government should concentrate on more pressing issues. In general off road bikers make an effort to ride on designated sites but I hope the government has thought out the repercussions of their actions by passing this law in respect to the less responsible members of the community and are ready to police not just the main highways but the country sides green lanes as well.
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