IAM Roadsmart pushing motorcycles as the green alternative

IAM Roadsmart is calling on the government to recognise the ‘untapped opportunity motorcycles represent’

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WE are becoming all-to-familiar with seeing motorcycles and the people that ride them getting ignored by councils, the government, and people pulling out of junctions.

So this morning we have a refreshing story for you, as a national newspaper has picked up the fact that riding a motorcycle could actually be beneficial on a number of fronts. The story was published on Express.co.uk, and it is refreshingly positive about bikers and bikers and highlights the good that riding a motorcycle can do. 

The source of the article is road safety charity and training provider, IAM Roadsmart, which has launched a campaign to try and highlight motorcycles to the government and accept them as a viable form of alternative transport above walking, cycling or an e-scooter.

IAM Roadsmart has conducted some research revealing that out of 2,000 motorists questioned, just 22 per cent recognised that motorcycles improve air quality, despite motorcycles producing on average less than half the emissions of cars. Furthermore, the data showed that less than half of the people surveyed thought that motorcycles could cut congestion, confirming that most non-riding motorists are unaware of the ways bikes can help in built-up areas. Research suggests that just a 10 per cent shift from driving to riding could reduce congestion on the UK’s roads by as much as 40 per cent. This shift would have other positive effects, like reduced congestion (due to lower emissions) but also through less heightened emissions stop-start driving. 

It is also recognised by the charity that bikes and bikers are all-to often overlooked by councils and governments, and that instead of focusing on what the IAM refers to as ‘active travel’, MPs could instead try and increase the number of people taking to a powered two-wheeler.

And it’s not just congestion and the environment that could benefit from more bikes on UK roads. One point not noted by the IAM, but still important to remember, is the effect that riding bikes has on the economy. There are around 1.3m motorcycles registered on the UK’s roads, and even the motorcycle sales and repair industry is worth an estimated £2.4 billion to the UK economy. That’s just the sales and repair industry, not taking into account kit, clothing, aftermarket parts, events, training or the great number of people the industry employs. Should that market shrink or disappear, the effect on the UK would be significant.

It’s something that Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, was keen to highlight, off the back of the ministerial round table with the DfT. He said:

“IAM RoadSmart strongly believes that motorcycles represent a huge opportunity in combatting poor air quality and congested roads. Their smaller size means that motorcyclists can safely filter through traffic, while smaller engines mean they produce less harmful emissions.

“It was great to see that the DfT were very much in listening mode at the recent motorcycling forum, and despite a range of issues being discussed at the meeting, the speakers were largely in agreement on one thing – the need for recognition of riders’ concerns and focus around a technology-neutral approach. With IAM RoadSmart's support, I am hopeful that we will make progress and achieve a decarbonisation policy that does not damage motorcycling in the UK.”

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