With motorcycle and scooter related crimes still at an all-time high in London and across the country, the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) is launching a new campaign to persuade the media stop referring to those committing crimes on motorcycles or scooter as ‘bikers’.
Not a day goes by without a report in the national, regional or even local news about crimes being committed on motorcycles and scooters, and the press referring to those who commit these attacks as ‘bikers’. However the reality, as any biker knows, is that the individuals carrying out these acts are normally on stolen machines and often have no licence, no insurance, and no understanding of what a biker really is.
MAG’s Director of Campaigns and Political Engagement, Colin Brown said: “Legitimate law-abiding bikers are fed up with being associated with criminal behaviour. We have to work extremely hard to improve the public and political perception of bikers; the last thing we need is to be branded as, or associated with, the criminal elements of society.
“Lazy use of the language has an enormous and subconscious detrimental impact on public perception. We are often viewed as intimidating faceless people because we have to wear helmets and safety gear, but the vast majority of us are friendly, warm, caring members of society.”
Poor media coverage and lazy use of editorial language has led to biker stereotypes being thrown to the flames as the terms ‘biker’ and ‘criminal’ have become interchangeable. Motorcyclists already have to battle with stereotypes that have been longstanding; we’re not all bearded, tattooed, Harley owning bikers or speed-loving, lunatics.
MAG has begun a new campaign to educate and edify news editors and reporters by writing a formal letter to the Director General of the BBC, Tony Hall. In the letter signed by the National Chairman, Selina Lavender, it was explained that not all bikers are criminals, therefore the term should be used to describe these criminals.
Tony Hall’s response to the letter said: “You make some important points… I will let our News and programme teams know of the work that you and the Motorcycle Action Group are doing.”
MAG will now be formally writing to the editors of any news media, be they local or national, online, newspapers, radio or television stations, point out examples of poor use of terminology and requesting that they refrain from referring to these ‘crims’ as bikers.
Any publication responding and cleaning up their act will then be recognised, celebrated and may even be nominated for MAG’s Media Award.
Share your thoughts on MAG’s latest campaign below…