Bikes and Congestion

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    As the UK road-charging debate rumbles on, the British Motorcyclists Federation has welcomed the statement by London Mayor Ken Livingstone that motorcycles and scooters will remain exempt from London’s congestion charging.

    The statement followed a story in London’s Evening Standard reporting on trials being carried out on automatic ‘tag and beacon’ systems for congestion charging whereby fixed beacons would record cars, fitted with an electronic tag, as they entered the charging zone. The RAC Foundation commented that this could mean the end of a dispensation for powered two wheelers (PTWs) as the current camera technology cannot record them, but a tag and beacon system could.

    Reacting on the basis that this would be a retrograde step, the BMF, Britain’s largest rider organisation, pointed out that motorcycles and scooters provide the ideal solution for commuters seeking a genuine door-to-door solution. ‘It is not just a matter of avoiding the congestion charge’ said BMF spokesman Jeff Stone, ‘but the only realistic alternative for those seeking personal mobility where public transport does not serve their needs and cycling is not an option’.

    The BMF also say out that despite dire warnings of increased accidents, the popularity of motorcycles and scooters has in fact resulted in a significant decrease in the accident rate, a result not only of fewer cars, but a better awareness by riders and drivers of the safety issues. That, coupled to the fact that a PTW of any size takes up far less space than a car and by its nature keeps moving in virtually any traffic situation, means that it is highly efficient as a single-person vehicle.

    Commenting on the story, Mayor Ken Livingstone said: ‘Both motorcycles and scooters are exempt from the congestion charge as they do not cause congestion. I would like to make it crystal clear that I have absolutely no intention whatsoever of making scooters and motorcycles pay the congestion charge. Despite the increase in numbers of motorbikes and scooters in the zone, there continues to be a decline in the number of accidents involving powered two-wheelers since the introduction of the scheme.’

    The BMF welcomes the Mayor’s statement and hopes that this in itself will be a ‘beacon’ to others in the road charging debate. Bikes are part of the traffic solution. They don’t cause congestion – they relieve it, so to deter people by charging them doesn’t make sense say the BMF.

    Issued by Jeff Stone: t: 0121 709 1040 e: [email protected]

    From the BMF website

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