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FORS welcomes motorcyclists as UK remit widens

Fleet Operation Recognition Scheme (FORS) will soon encompass powered two-wheeler (P2W) fleets – made up primarily of motorcycle and moped operations – as the scheme continues to expand its remit to bring best practice to an increasing range of commercial vehicle operators in the UK.

With the Brake charity’s annual UK Road Safety Week running from November 19-23, and with Bike Smart (targeting motorcycles as well as bicycles) central to its theme, FORS says it is committed to drawing attention to the importance of the safety of P2W riders on UK roads.

Through its newly-updated FORS Standard, FORS makes provision for P2W fleet operations from January 2019, providing this growing sector with access to its progressive Bronze-Silver-Gold accreditation process. The new FORS Standard is now in its fifth iteration, updated every two years to retain relevance in an ever-changing industry, setting out the requirements operators must meet if they wish to become FORS accredited.

As part of new FORS Professional training updates, and very much in-line with Transport for London’s (TfL) Vision Zero campaign, P2W fleets at FORS Bronze level accreditation are required to complete Compulsory Basic Training and the theory test every 12 months. At Silver accreditation, members’ P2W riders must have attained a full motorcycle licence relevant to the vehicle’s power output.

John Hix, FORS director, says the change to include powered two-wheelers was inevitable as the scheme widens its remit: “The transport of goods has come to encompass a much wider range of vehicles other than HGVs and vans, and, from the outset, FORS has aimed to include as wide a range of professional fleets as possible. We began with a remit for construction HGV operators before expanding our reach to vans and bus and coach operators, and the scheme now has the tools to include powered two-wheelers.”

FORS is becoming more accessible to more operators, especially those with P2W fleets which are becoming increasingly prevalent on UK roads, contributing to many last-mile deliveries resulting from the growth in eCommerce.

Hix adds: “It’s no secret that many deliveries, especially last-mile deliveries are completed on motorcycles and mopeds, and it’s important that we offer these operators the chance to be part of FORS; to raise standards, to implement training and to improve safety for all road users.”

Carl Lomas, national chair of the Institute of Couriers, member of the FORS Governance and Standards Advisory Committee (GSAG), welcomes the changes, he says: “Yes, motorcycles and mopeds are exempt from the requirement to hold an O-Licence, yet they still deliver a commercial transport service and face many of the same challenges as any operator; and they most certainly do have the same obligations to road safety, to efficiency and to sustainable operations. FORS will now help those operators, to raise their game and to ensure they meet their responsibilities. Paramount to this, will be the increasing focus on safety for riders of motorcyles and mopeds.”

The addition of P2Ws to FORS membership goes hand in hand with a greater national emphasis on the inclusion of P2Ws across compliance, and a recognition of the need to provide training in the sector. Under TfL’s Vision Zero policy, a wide range of measures have been put in place to raise motorcycle standards, including new advanced training courses and closer working with the motorcycle delivery industry.

Lilli Matson, TfL’s Director of Transport Strategy said: “Too many people are being killed or seriously injured while riding motorcycles and mopeds in London. This is why, as part of our Vision Zero approach to reducing road danger, we have launched a range of new measures to raise motorcycle standards, including new advanced training courses and much closer working with the motorcycle delivery industry. We are supportive of the new FORS accreditation for delivery riders and hope it encourages companies and riders to put safety at their heart of their operations.”