Encourage motorbike use, government urged

Two Wheel Focus

Two Wheel Focus - Credit: supplied

Police and motorcycle industry campaigners are jointly urging the government to back powered two-wheelers in a bid to cut congestion.

The Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) have launched a policy document that claims that a large-scale shift to two wheels would cut congestion by huge amounts.

While the reduction in casualties among bikers is seeing a slowdown, the two influential groups believe that encouraging more people, not fewer, to take to motorbikes would improve commutes for everyone.

They are calling for motorcycles to be included in mainstream transport policy, alongside cars, haulage and established public transport networks.

The proposals quote a Belgian study on one of the most congested roads in Europe, with the results showing a 10% shift from cars to bikes reduced congestion by 40%.

If 25% of the cars in the study were swapped for powered two-wheelers, congestion would be all but eliminated.

Among the measures being called for is the streamlining of the driving theory test, so drivers and riders sit the same one. Currently there are two different types.

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Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick, motorcycling lead for ACPO, said of the move: “Too many motorcyclists are still being killed and injured on the roads. This framework should see some real advancement in improving road safety, particularly for motorcyclists.

“Through this joint work, we hope to make some sustained changes to see improvements for motorcycle safety and a greater recognition of the wider impacts of increased powered two-wheeler use.

“The framework places education at the heart of it with some proposed transformations to improve the theory test and greater recognition and use of BikeSafe and the Ride scheme.”

Steve Kenward, MCIA chief executive, said: “For too long, the government, local authorities and transport planners seem to have deliberately avoided talking about motorcycle use, a practice which will increasingly fail as a method of reducing rider accidents.

“Motorcycles need to be treated as a legitimate form of transport, which can save time, space and money for commuters, while having the added benefit of reducing congestion for all road users.”