January 6 2004. News that a study is to be carried out into the needs of motorcyclists and scooter riders when designing new roads and upgrades, has been warmly welcomed by the 140,000 strong British Motorcyclists Federation, the UK's largest rider organisation.

The scoping study (prior to the preparation of design guidelines), is part of a contract that has been awarded to the Institute of Highway Incorporated Engineers (IHIE) by The Department for Transport (DfT). The much-needed advice on how to address the road engineering needs of motorcycles, scooters and mopeds will be available in 2004-05.

Over the past twelve months, the BMF has been part of a team drawn together by the IHIE to compile good practice advice. The costs of the formal study will now be co-funded by the DfT, the IHIE and the BMF.

Welcoming the news, Richard Olliffe, the BMF's Road Safety specialist said: "This is a very important move. The motorcycle and scooter rider is a vulnerable road user but until now, the car has been king where road design is concerned and the onus for reducing casualties has been entirely on the rider. This gives us an opportunity to level the playing field."

Tony Sharp, IHIE Council Member and chair of the drafting group said: "The IHIE brought together key players of engineers; TMS consultancy; Transport Research Laboratory (TRL); the DfT; the BMF and the Motor Cycle Industry Association, to draw together good practice advice and the scoping study will now allow us to define exactly what riders and practitioners need."

The IHIE aims to publish the guidelines at the same time as the government's Advisory Group on Motorcycling launches its strategy recommendations in late 2004. There will be at least one consultation event to engage practitioners and riders in identifying problems and solutions.