TOAD TALKS: Are motorcyclists being priced off the roads?


The Federation of European Motorcyclists’ thinks so, and Toad seems to agree with them

London ride out group

THE European motorcycle lobby group, The Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Association (FEMA), is calling on governments to look at motorcycles as a transport solution, not just another taxation cash cow.

The call comes as bikers are being seemingly priced out of cities across the world. Free motorcycle parking is disappearing, and authorities seem to do their best to squeeze every last penny from every last road user. Indeed, as towns and cities become ever more congested and constricted, the powers-that-be appear to want to remove some of us from the road altogether, be it through routes closed to motorcycles, or so-called ‘noise cameras’ outlawing otherwise homologated bikes.

It's a trend that FEMA wants to put a stop to, and it’s highlighting some interesting counterarguments to the tactics. It points to a report from October this year carried out by the S&P Mobility Group. Its report claims that the price of lithium, a key ingredient in high-powered electric car and motorcycle batteries, has increased in price seven-fold, adding that much of the profits go to a singular nation, China. The report also found a similar story with nickel, another key part of the technology. With the price of raw materials only going one way, you don’t have to be an economist to figure out the effect on new electric car prices – especially when the combustion ban bites.

So, with electric cars out of reach of much of the global population, and motorcycles being walked to the gallows; where is the cost-effective, congestion-busting transport going to come from? Public transport used to be the answer, but COVID-19 drove a great number of commuters off the railways and bus routes. And as they left (many moving to motorcycles), train and bus providers put up the prices charged to the rest of the people using them. History tells us that once the prices go up, they rarely come back down, regardless of how much money the folk at the top of the gravy train earn.

Conversely, new motorcycle prices for small and mid-capacity machines (both petrol and electric) offer exceptional value by comparison. And while used bike prices did rise during the lockdown, they still offer immense value compared to a comparable age car – and are likely to depreciate much less in return. Add on lower fuel costs, smaller insurance premiums, less road tax and, the obvious positive environmental benefits of taking to two wheels… It really does make you wonder what these so-called lawmakers are going on about.

Anyway, I’m off to ride a two-stroke 125 this afternoon… lovely job!

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