Motorcycle Discrimination

I never had this happen to me.

Let’s face it, motorcycles are amazing, and anyone who disagrees has clearly never ridden one. They save money, cut congestion and go a long way to helping to reduce carbon emissions. And that’s not even to mention the good they can do for a person’s mental well-being.

So, it’s hard to imagine a world in which your employer would ever bar you from using your bike for trips connected to your job. This is something that the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF) is reporting, though, as it looks to speak to people who have been in just such a situation.

The BMF’s Alex Parsons-Hulse has received reports recently that point to ‘several’ companies banning employees from using their motorcycles for trips that are in relation to their employment. Examples of this type of travel could be going to see a supplier, meeting with a client, or attending a conference. The BMF also reports that cases have been noted where employers are looking to actively discourage employees from commuting to work on their motorcycle, which to us sounds like a blatant case of discrimination simply because of a person’s chosen mode of transport.

If you have the relevant insurance, then you can do as you please. I used mine when I was on-call to attend incidents. Likewise when travelling about doing signalbox visits and assessments. It was a practical way of getting about. So much so that Railtrack (as Network Rail was) looked at using them for rapid response.

Unless they choose to supply the vehicle – a hire car, for instance – an employer has no business dictating what vehicle you use as it is none of their concern. Certainly had any employer tried that on with me, they would have been on the receiving end of a very sharp response.

It would seem that once again, we see employers behaving as if they own their employees. They don’t. They pay for time and expertise and nothing else.


  1. My motorbike allows me to get to customers quickly and efficiently when needed, and I know that traffic won’t be an issue as at worst it may add a few minutes to the journey.

    Apart from very cold days, it is my transport of choice.

    That said, I own my business so it helps.

  2. We’ve had a “2/3 wheel vehicle not to be used for work trips (commuting excepted)” policy in place for quite a while now.

    When recently reminded of this, someone joked in the dept chat that “so we can use monocycles, then?”

    And, a strict reading of the policy does, in fact, permit monocycles and unicycles to be used in such circumstances…

    • Does your employer provide vehicles for work trips? If not, then they cannot enforce it. For many years, I did not have any other vehicle, so it was the bike or you provide the transport.

      As far as commuting is concerned, that is outside of working hours, so the policy has no business even mentioning it, as it is none of their concern whatsoever.

  3. > Does your employer provide vehicles for work trips?

    They pay the mandated petrol allowance. That’s as much as I know for sure; I’m office/home based 99% of the time.

    Any “business travel” I’ve personally had has involved public transport/taxis (with work paying.)

    • If they pay petrol allowance – which is the usual arrangement – then that’s it. What you use is not up to them as they are not in a position to dictate what vehicles you own. The public transport option is a workaround if it’s manageable. It wasn’t for me much of the time, despite working in the industry as I was responding to lineside incidents.

      Personally, I’d use the bike and defy them and fight them every inch of the way, for they are exceeding their remit.

  4. My travel for work always involved either a company vehicle or a hire car or van. Commuting over the years has involved cars, motorcycles and pushbikes, work never interfered with those choices. Like the vegan extremists from an earlier post, there seem to be too many people who think that other people’s lifestyle choices are their business. I see this as a major personality flaw.

  5. Slightly different circumstances, but decades ago I undertook a residential training course as part of my apprenticeship. Several of us used our motorbikes to get to and from the site, although a weekend coach shuttle was provided for the rest. Unfortunately, one of our number had an accident riding back from the social club one evening. TPTB then issued an edict that we were all to use the coach in future. As we would have to ride our bikes back home anyway, I decided to leave mine on site for the next two weekends. This meant I was on the coach as required, but I still had transport for the remainder of the course! Probably not the interpretation of the ruling they expected, but my rebellious nature took over…

  6. I was told I was not to wear headphones on my walk to and fro a previous employer, many years ago. Apparently, it painted the company in a bad light. I duly ignored this edict after explaining that, unless they wanted to pay me for the time I spent walking backwards and forwards, they could take a running jump.

    A power-mad split arse in a Hillary style trouser suit made it her mission to piss me off as much as possible in the weeks following, culminating in my dismissal after I told her where to stick her poxy job.

  7. Never had a problem with commuting by bike at school, uni or work. Faster, cheaper, easier more flexible than car/bus. On one summer job employer saw it as advantageous as I could be at another site quickly

    If any employer had said ‘no bikes’ I’d argue and say “sack me”

    However, as bikes became more expensive I stopped unless secure parking as too quick & easy to steal, as @LR knows

    Hmm, do Vigin still do bike to Heathrow?

  8. Thinking back to when I was an apprentice in the late 1970s, for most of us our motorbike was our only transport so limiting their use would have been completely impractical. Of course, back in those days, the idea of telling people what form of transport they could or couldn’t use would have seemed absurd.

Comments are closed.