TRANSPORT COMMITTEE REPORT CARRIES A HEALTH WARNING SAYS INDUSTRY
March 30 2007.


The Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI) has called for the Transport Select Committee's (TSC) Report into the Government's Motorcycling Strategy to be treated with caution.

The MCI welcomes the fact that the Committee has recognised the broad opportunities that exist for motorcycling as a transport mode and that the TSC supports the targets in the Government's Motorcycle Strategy, which was published in February 2005. The MCI also welcomes the recommendation that Government should continue to work closely with the industry as the Strategy is implemented.

The Committee also commented favourably in other areas. The TSC regards rider training as more robust than car driver training but is concerned that DSA must provide adequate testing and training opportunities beyond 2008.

The TSC also supported a more permissive attitude to allowing motorcycles in bus lanes and has called for government to include motorcycling in schools education - two policy areas strongly supported by MCI.

However, there are key areas of the Committee's report which the industry feel should carry a health warning.

On the matter of an off-road registration scheme the committee on one hand recognised that most agencies, including the police, do not believe it would work and does not support implementation if cost and administrative burden would be prohibitive. On the other hand, the TSC came down on the side of off road registration 'trials', a contradictory finding, given the arguments presented in the Report and by almost every witness who gave evidence to Committee members.

The MCI is also concerned about the Committee's view on safety and believes that the emissions data in the Report presents a misleading picture.

The Committee ignored evidence that shows that the absolute speed and power of motorcycles is not usually a direct factor in motorcycle accidents. Over 60% of accidents are caused by other road users and motorcycle-only accidents are often due to rider skills and experience deficiencies, rather than excesses of speed and power. The chance of being killed on a motorcycle are also very low - approximately one death to every 10 million kilometres ridden.

The TSC also wants to see emissions reductions from larger motorcycles. Emissions standards are set by European regulation, with several stages of emissions reduction introduced since the year 2000. Unfortunately, the Committee has ignored the fact that emissions data does not reflect the fact that car and motorcycle emissions tests are different and do not provide strictly comparable data a motorcycle is not a car and has wholly different dynamics and fuel usage characteristics when being ridden.

For example, short-range commuter bikes have better emissions in most respects than any non hybrid-fuel car on the road today. High-performance bikes perform better in many respects than high-performance cars. The Committee data showing emissions per passenger mile, do not take into account that cars often only have one occupant and can spend hours stuck in traffic with an idling engine (Research in this area often assumes four car occupants when 'passenger' mile figures are given).

The data does not take account of the fact that motorcycles do not get stuck in traffic and that riders have lower journey times. Overall, powered two wheelers have a significantly lower carbon footprint on 'real' journeys compared to what is implied by data records from scientific test cycles in laboratory situations.

MCI's Craig Carey-Clinch said; " MCI welcomes the fact that the Transport Select Committee recognises the importance of motorcycling and the positive opportunities it offers. It is also good news that the Committee supports the motorcycle strategy targets and in particular is in favour of youth education and motorcycles in bus lanes.

"However, we are concerned about the TSC's lack of in-depth understanding of the PTW environmental and safety situation and feel that the report is in danger of creating an inaccurate and distorted view of motorcycling among decision makers."