Memorandum by Motor Cycle Industry Association
The Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI) welcomes
the Transport Sub-committee of the Transport, Local Government
and the Regions Committee investigation into the 10 Year Plan.
The MCI is the UK's only trade association for
the non-retail sector of the motorcycle industry. Representing
over 150 members including manufacturers and importers of motorcycles,
scooters, mopeds and accessories; factors (wholesales or motorcycle
components and accessories); some motorcycle media and some larger
dealers. The MCI aims to promote motorcycling in transport policy
and is also involved with a number of other legislative and technical
issues. We represent over 90 per cent of the market, which turns
over in excess of £2 billion per annum.
The 10 Year Transport Plan, devised to deliver
the government's priorities, including reduced congestion and
better integration, was welcomed by the MCI. However it is very
disappointing that powered two wheelers (PTWs) are only mentioned
once, given the benefits they can bring. In contributing to the
investigation MCI seeks to answer some of the questions posed
on the Plans assumptions, targets for growth and the government's
integrated transport policy, whilst demonstrating the solutions
motorcycles can offer to meet the government's objectives.
What Assumptions should be modified or challenged?
Motorcycles are mentioned only once in the 10
Year Transport Plan and there is no policy relating to how they
are used. This leads local authorities and other persons interested
in transport to disregard the part that PTWs have to play.
The only acknowledgement in the plan is that
PTWs can offer a flexible and affordable alternative to the car
for some local journeys and therefore have a part to play in an
integrated transport policy. It is also positive that the plan
highlights that PTWs can also make more efficient use of road
space in congested town centres and provide a cheaper alternative
for people on low incomes living in rural areas. However, in
spite of the recognition the plan brings to the benefits of PTWs,
MCI does not believe that this is enough given the solutions PTWs
offer to meet the government's targets.
How important are the assumptions to the outcome
of the plan? What remedial action is necessary if assumptions
or targets need to be changed?
Assumptions are very important to the outcome
of the plan. MCI seeks to demonstrate in answer to some of the
questions that PTWs need to be included in the plan to raise awareness
of the part they have to play in integrated transport policy and
challenge any assumptions there might be that PTWs have no role
Actions necessary if assumptions are to be changed
and PTWs are to be integrated into transport plan should include
Exemption from workplace parking
and congestion charging schemes.
Why is integrating motorcycles in transport policy
Increase in motorcycle users and solutions they
During the last eight years, there have been
dramatic increases in the numbers of PTWs in use on Britain's
roads. The congestion-busting potential of motorcycles has long
been recognised by mission critical organisations such as the
police, and as increasing numbers of people look for alternatives
to spending up to several hours a day stuck in traffic, the PTW
is coming into sharp focus as an alternative. There are a number
of reasons for this.
Commuter demand for an alternative
that allows a similar level of personal flexibility that is offered
by private car use, at a much lower level of impact on the roads
The current lack of flexibility,
convenience, privacy, reliability and high cost of public transport.
The lack of flexibility, safety,
convenience and slow speeds of cycling.
An improved range of attractive,
reasonably priced commuter PTWs.
Budgetary constraints may be another reason
for motorised households to look for a cheap and reliable alternative
to the car when travelling alone over short to medium distances.
For some types of journey, the private car continues to be the
most practical option, but for others, scooters, mopeds and motorcycles
are a realistic alternative.
Are the targets and the dates for their achievement
well designed (eg is reducing congestion the right objective)?
It is crucial that other forms of transport
are considered as part of the solution for reducing congestion.
PTWs provide a viable alternative where there a limited individual
resources and/or limited public transport options.
This is very much the case where traditional
public transport options are scheduled around traditional nine
to five working hours and are not effectively organised for part-time
workers in the service sector, particularly for people who work
late or unusual hours.
Since the publication of the 10 Year Transport
Plan, MCI has been successful in ensuring the exemption of PTWs
from congestion charging schemes, by demonstrating that motorcycles
do not contribute to traffic congestion and indeed cause less
congestion than even pedal cycles as they occupy road space for
less time. It is crucial that an integrated transport strategy
recognise effectively all modes of transport that can contribute
to a reduction in congestion.
What other targets, if any, should be included
(eg modal shift, walking, traffic levels?)
Targets should be introduced to encourage motorcycle
parking provision. MCI would recommend that 5 per cent of vehicle
spaces should be allocated for motorcycles.
How well does the 10 Year Transport Plan balance
social and environmental policy with efficient investment?
For the 10 Year Transport Plan to balance social
policy and environmental policy with efficient investment it needs
to fully highlight all modes of transport that benefit both social
and environmental policy. Motorcycling, with its ability to beat
congestion and reduce journey times has a clear role to play.
The plan acknowledges that there is inadequate
public transport across England. In many towns and cities public
transport does not offer an effective choice, whilst in rural
areas public transport is limited. As a result, those without
use of a car may suffer poor access to work and services, and
be at risk of social exclusion.
Towns and cities
The plan highlights a package of new measures
to benefit local people in towns and cities, however it neglects
to recognise the benefits PTWs have to the urban environment.
Combining the compact characteristics of a bicycle with the range,
speed and convenience of a passenger car, PTWs have a number of
substantial advantages to offer to the urban transport environment.
MobilityA medium sized PTW weighs less
than 100 kg, uses less than half the space of a car when mobile
and a fifth when parked. The burden on public infrastructure budgets
is small. Road damage attributable to motorcycles is virtually
Operating CostsCommuter PTWs have extremely
low operating costs when compared to a car. A moped costs one
eighth of the price of a small car, which extends transport choices
to those who do not have access to reasonably priced private transport
and cannot regularly afford public transport fares. Vehicle Excise
Duty (VED) for small motorcycles is nearly one seventh the cost
of VED for the new lower taxation band for small cars, with VED
for the largest motorcycles still two thirds cheaper than the
cheapest rate for cars.
Fuel and Energy EfficiencyMotorcycles
are an energy efficient form of transport. For the same trip at
the same speed and under the same running conditions, PTWs use
a fifth to a half of the energy that a medium sized car would
consume. They weigh less, have a smaller engine capacity and are
unaffected by traffic congestion.
This was demonstrated by a survey of the same
journeys by car and PTW in different European cities. The Motor
Vehicles Emissions Group (MVEG) concluded that besides having
lower journey times, PTWs consume between 55 and 81 per cent less
fuel than passenger cars would for the same journey.
The Plan proposes to increase support for bus
services and other forms of transport for those in rural areas.
MCI contends that not only does the PTW offer travel choice, in
the role as an alternative means of transport, but it also offers
benefits for communities where remoteness and poverty impose social
exclusion in a number of circumstances such as employment and
social integration issues. PTWs can help reduce social exclusion,
particularly in cases where alternatives modes of transport are
impractical and/or not readily available. The PTW also boosts
transport in offering communities access to healthcare, employment,
shopping for example where this poses isolation and security issues.
A number of councils now provide access to PTWs
for members of communities who have experienced difficulties where
public transport to and from work is impractical. This serves
to encourage such groups to go to college, work etc. Such schemes
should be expanded nation-wide.
The investigation should therefore take explicit
account of the role the PTW, not only as a realistic alternative
to the carbut as a mode which is already recognised and
used within rural communities as an essential means of transportation.
PTWs can help reduce social exclusion
in a number of situations, by providing access to wider employment
and training opportunities.
In removing transport barriers, any
packages including PTW initiatives should be supported as offering
a broad range of transport alternatives for car users, and raising
the quality of travel (safety, security, access, convenience and
efficiency) for current two wheeler users.
PTWs should be exempt from workplace
parking charges as a "green commuting benefit".
The plan is committed to reducing vehicle emissions
and this is an area where PTWs have a part to play. The government's
White PaperA New Deal for Transport has already acknowledged
the environmental benefits motorcycles bring:
"Whether there are benefits for the environment
and for congestion from motorcycling depends on the purpose of
the journey, the size of motorcycle used and the type of transport
that the rider has switched from. Mopeds and small motorcycles
may produce benefits if they substitute for car use."
PTWs have a clear place in an overall urban
transport policy priority hierarchy in environmental terms:
Does the plan set out a balanced approach to all
modes (eg walking)
The plan does not set out a balanced approach
to all modes of transport. It is interesting to note, "walking"
being used as an example for a mode of transport that could be
under represented. Whilst walking is under represented in the
plan, being grouped together with cycling, it is still mentioned
more than PTWs, which demonstrates how underrepresented PTWs are.
MCI understand the reasons for highlighting walking and cycling,
as they are environmentally friendly modes of transport. However
they are not the most practical mode of transport, especially
for longer journeys.
PTWs need to be acknowledged in the plan as
a single road user with its own concerns and issues as well as
providing solutions to the government's targets and objectives.
Are there any conflicts between the Plan and the
policies in the White PaperA New Deal for Transport?
There are conflicts between the Plan and the
policies in the White Paper regarding PTWs. The White Paper provides
a more detailed and holistic approach to PTWs and recognises that
there are complex issues involved. It also recommends that in
drawing up their local transport plans, local authorities should
take account of the contribution that motorcycling can make and
consider specific measures to assist motorcyclists, such as secure
parking at public transport interchange sites. It further states
that the government would welcome proposals from local authorities
interested in conducting properly monitored pilot studies of the
use of bus lanes by motorcycles, to help inform decisions on whether
there is a case for motorcyclists to be allowed to use bus lanes.
As the White Paper both recognises the part
PTWs have to play in transport policy and recommends actions to
be taken it is incomprehensible why they have been so under-represented
in the plan.
The MCI believes that motorcycles and the use
of PTW's provide solutions to the government's concerns of congestion
and the environment and it is imperative this mode of transport
is effectively included in the 10 year Transport Plan.
An under-representation of that mode of transport
leads to assumptions that PTWs have no part to play in integrated
transport policy. These assumptions need to be challenged by highlighting
the role PTWs have to play in transport policy and the benefits
they can bring, including reducing congestion, ameliorating social
exclusion and environmental advantages over cars and implement
initiatives to encourage their use.
MCI currently adapt an integrated multi-agency
approach working alongside the Driving Standards Agency and the
DTLR and welcomes the government's integrated approach to Transport,
however it must be balanced and effectively tackle all modes of
The current approach is unbalanced in its approach
to all modes of transport, nor continues in its recognition of
the part PTWs have to play in integrated transport policy, as
acknowledged in the White PaperA New Deal for Transport.
Fortunately both the review of the transport
plan and the Transport Sub-committee of the Transport, Local Government
and the Regions investigation into the 10 Year Plan provide the
opportunity for the government to acknowledge the benefits PTWs
can bring to integrated transport policy.