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10-09-2007 Consultation and Motorcycle Prejudice

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG UK) has been invited by the Department of Transport to comment on the Government's Draft Local Transport Bill. The Local Transport Bill is a key part of the Government's strategy to meet the transport challenges of not only today, but in ten and twenty year?s time.

The three key areas of the strategy, addresses public transport, the governance for managing local transport and the issue of road pricing. MAG have worked relentlessly to persuade Government of the advantages and benefits which motorcycling offers to ease traffic congestion, improve the environment as well as enhancing social mobility and the economic prosperity of the nation.

The effort was rewarded by the release of the Government's Motorcycling Strategy which acknowledges motorcycling as a legitimate and viable transport mode which should be central to local transport planning and mainstreamed into transport policy. The Government's commitment to motorcycling was reinforced in their response to the Parliamentary Transport Select Committee's scrutiny of the strategy.

Moves by Road Peace and other road safety movements to undermine motorcycling have been discredited. Their claims that motorcycling is dangerous and adds to pollution can be rebutted by hard evidence from the Government's own sources.

Motorcycling is becoming safer. Speed is not an factor. Only 4% of motorcycle crashes involved exceeding the speed limit and only 9% of crashes involved travelling too fast for the conditions. There is no correlation between the size of motorcycle and casualty rates.

In terms of pollution, motorcycles meet stringent Euro 3 regulations and are far less polluting than cars. (This has been acknowledged by an EU Commission report). Especially when those cars are sat in traffic jams doing zero miles to the gallon!

With regards to congestion charging, MAG holds the view that those modes of powered personal transport which are the least polluting and promote movement of traffic such as motorcycles, should be exempt from charging. MAG has recommended that the London congestion charge scheme should be recognised as best practice where motorcycles are exempt from the charge. Their use has increased and casualty rates have decreased significantly.

MAG supports the Government's commitment to encourage local authorities to allow motorcycles in bus lanes and to accommodate motorcycle only parking bays. These are measures that will contribute to the objectives of the Local Transport Bill.

MAG Campaigns Manager David Short says, " We are delighted that the Government has asked MAG to contribute to the consultation exercise, we will continue to ensure that motorcycling is recognised as an answer to the problem of traffic congestion and should be exempt from charging regimes.

We will continue to fight the prejudice pedalled by elements of the road safety lobby who are sounding increasingly more strident as their wild claims are rebutted by hard facts and common sense.

Those responsible in Government are listening to MAG and we will continue to work with government at the national, regional and local levels to ensure motorcycling is indeed mainstream and recognised as an answer to the problems facing transport and environmental issues".

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