Motorcycling: Time to Apply the Brakes?
HURDLE D I, Centre for Independent Transport Research in London, UK
With so much lively debate these days on reducing car use and encouraging more walking, cycling and public transport use, it is rare to find any mention of motorcycles. Although a minority form of travel, some 160,000 journeys are made on them in London e
With so much lively debate these days on reducing car use and encouraging more walking, cycling and public transport use, it is rare to find any mention of motorcycles. Although a minority form of travel, some 160,000 journeys are made on them in London every day. Perceptions about them vary. Many people no doubt see them as noisy, fast and dangerous as riders weave in and out of tral~e, or overtake long queues on the offside. Others see them as very e~eient in their use of road and parking space.
As town and transport planners and others try to reduce transport's adverse effects and propose more sensible travel, it is important to be very clear about each form's strengths and weaknesses. Is motorcycling environmentally-fi'iendly - is it 'green' or not'? How does it rate with ears on fuel effideney, pollution emissions and so on? And.should motorcycles use 'priority space' on roads?
Things have clearly got to change. The Road Traffic Reduction Act 1997 means it is now a question of how to reduce traffic not 'whether to' or 'when'. Taking London, 49% of travel is by ear and only 1% by pedal cycle, average car occupancy is only 1.4 people, the city is one of the most polluted in the country, most of it from road tra~c, and future historians will no doubt puzzle and ponder as to how 3 million Londoners were road casualty victims this century. Not a very sustainable situation.
This paper does not claim any original research, rather it pulls together existing information so that judgements can be made as to whether motorcycling is a form of travel to be encouraged or not, and given any priority on roads.
Association for European Transport