TRANSPORT POLICIES GIVE MIXED MESSAGES SAY MCIA
August 16 2004. Recently announced transport policies and guidance on Local Transport Plans need to give clearer indicators about the positive role that motorcycling can play in the UK's transport system, says the Motor Cycle Industry Association.

Launching its campaign to gain local authority support for positive biking policies in local authority transport plans, the industry is arguing that transport planners are getting very mixed messages about motorcycling. The recent publication by the Department for Transport (DfT) of the Final report of the Advisory Group for Motorcycling, contained a wealth of information and recommendations about how biking should be treated in policy terms. However, set against this, the DfT's consultation on local authority guidance on local transport plans, gives motorcycling only the merest mention and fails to outline how the congestion and pollution beating advantages of commuter motorcycle use can help local authorities beat targets for congestion reduction.

Flagship policies such as car sharing 'HOV' lanes and road pricing, which have been launched for consultation by the Secretary of State for Transport, also need to take motorcycling into account. In welcoming these proposals, the industry argues that in both cases motorcycling should be considered positively by allowing riders to use HOV lanes and exempting motorcycles from any new road charges - as is the norm for other road pricing schemes.

Commenting, Craig Carey-Clinch, MCI Director of Public Affairs said; 'It's increasingly accepted that motorcycles have a key role to play in pollution and congestion reduction. Bikes don't contribute to congestion in any way and pollution outputs are many times lower than car emissions for journeys where cars spend much of their time stuck in traffic. The public is increasingly appreciating this and are voting with their wheels by switching from four to two.

'Despite positive noises about motorcycling, it's time Government displayed some the much vaunted 'joined up thinking' by ensuring that the kind of positive consideration which has been given in some departmental publications are reflected in others - especially the important guidance on local authority transport plans.

'A good transport plan should incorporate positive policies for motorcycle such as access to bus lanes and cycle advanced stop lines, plus better parking provision. Positive biking policies can also extend to safety, by having measures which educate riders and drivers and reduce rider vulnerability with biker friendly traffic engineering. It's no good transport planners moaning about motorcycle casualties when they're not prepared to look at biking in a positive way. If they don't do this, then casualty numbers will continue to cause concern.

The fact is that massive increases in motorcycle use (10% in the last year alone) have led to a reduced chance of having an accident when riding a motorcycle, but if we want to se the actual number of accidents come down, it's time we integrated motorcycling into transport policies in a positive way.'