June 30 2009.

In a bid to secure the future of off-road bike sport in the UK a new Code of Practice has been published by the Auto-Cycle Union (ACU), the Amateur Motorcycle Association (AMCA), and the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA). Off-road events such as motocross, trials, grass-track and enduro are under threat because they rely on access to land and the goodwill of land owners to provide their venues. With ever increasing legislation and a claims culture, there was little in the way of good practice guidelines or protection to enable these land owners to identify properly run events, until now.

The new code, which has across the board agreement from the motorcycle industry and the two main organising bodies, sets out the recommended conditions and requirements for the organisation and running of all off road sporting motorcycle events. The code specifically covers items that bring protection to the land owner, the participants, the local community and the environment, whilst ensuring that local disruption is minimised. By controlling the impact of motorcycle sport, the safety and enjoyment of all participants and other stakeholders, visitors and the local community can be protected over the long term.

The Code of Practice has now been published and will be distributed to local authority officers when the AMCA, ACU, and MCIA, working under the banner of the 'Motorcycle Sport Political Strategy Group, attend the Local Government Association Conference in early July.

The group is also lobbying Government to consider the new code as a framework for a statutory Code of Practice for sporting events organised by authorising bodies as set out in Statutory Instrument 1995 No. 1371 The Motor Vehicles (Off Road Events) Regulations 1995.

Jim Parker, Chairman of the ACU and Terry King, Chairman of the AMCA, both believe that the new code will have a positive impact on off road motorcycle sport: "Without access to land and the goodwill and co-operation of land owners and the local community, our sport can never grow. Equally, these same stakeholders need the assurance that they are not putting themselves, the public, competitors, property, local environment and business at risk when allowing an event organiser to use their land. I firmly believe that this new code will help us achieve a new and positive understanding with these groups," explained Parker.

"Now, more than ever, we all have a duty to be mindful of the safety, social and environmental impacts of our activities. I am sure that this document, written in partnership with the motorcycle industry, represents a significant and important development, demonstrating how seriously we take our responsibilities," continued King.

Tara L. O Glen, Chair of the Motorcycle Industry Association said: "The association is delighted to be a partner in this initiative to promote the benefits of such an exciting sport as motorcycling in its many different forms.

"We believe that this new code will help create a sustainable future for our sport by encouraging the organisation of safe, responsible events that can be embraced by the communities in which they take place."