Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by Motor Cycle Industry Association (TYP 1)


  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 to play.

  Actions necessary if assumptions are to be changed and PTWs are to be integrated into transport plan should include proposals for:

    —  More secure parking.

    —  Exemption from workplace parking and congestion charging schemes.

    —  Improved safety.

    —  Bus lane initiatives.

Why is integrating motorcycles in transport policy so important?

Increase in motorcycle users and solutions they can provide

  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 system.

    —  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)?

Reducing congestion

  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.

Social Policy

  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.

  Mobility—A 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 non-existent.

  Operating Costs—Commuter 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 Efficiency—Motorcycles 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.

Rural areas

  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 car—but as a mode which is already recognised and used within rural communities as an essential means of transportation. In summary:

    —  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".

Environmental Policy

  The plan is committed to reducing vehicle emissions and this is an area where PTWs have a part to play. The government's White Paper—A 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:



    Public Transport.


    Private Cars.

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 Paper—A 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 transport.

  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 Paper—A 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.


January 2002

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