A survey conducted by the MCI (Motorcycle Industry Association) found that nearly all mayoral candidates in London see motorcycling and electric motorcycling as part of a green future for solving the capital’s transport problems. MCI has welcomed the candidates’ support, but says that more than just warm words will be needed if motorcycling’s contribution to transport in London is to be fully recognised.
Both Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone stated clear support and enthusiasm for motorcycling, and were keen to point out their individual contributions. Ken Livingstone said there was ‘no question’ as to the part motorcycles, scooters and mopeds played in reducing congestion, ‘- that’s why I exempted them from the Congestion Charge when I bought it in. And I will keep it that way’. Boris Johnson highlighted his personal influence - ‘my decision to confirm that motorcycles can use bus lanes on the Transport for London Road Network is a further practical example of my support’.
Electric motorbikes and the provision of charging points was a key concern for all candidates. Boris Johnson included motorcycles in his vision for London as ‘the electric vehicle epicentre of Europe’. Ken Livingstone included motorbikes before cars in his target group for moving from petrol to electric - stating ‘my priorities for supporting the greater take-up of electric vehicles will be buses, taxis and motorbikes’.
Only the green party were cautious about welcoming electric motorcycling, saying that they would ‘invest in the necessary infrastructure’ but that electric motorcycles ‘were not the full solution’.
Parking was also recognised as an issue for motorcyclists with many candidates pledging to improve the number of free spaces available and challenge those councils who charge motorcyclists. Both Brian Paddick (Liberal Democrat) and Siobhan Benita (Independent) singled out Westminster City Council’s parking charges to motorcyclists as unfair.
Safety was also identified as an area for improvement for motorcyclists with Ken Livingstone stating that ‘no one should be put off switching from car to a bike because it is too dangerous’. Boris Johnson highlighted his commitment to safety schemes run by Transport for London including BikeSafe and ScooterSafe as a successful collaboration between the motorcycle industry, the police and Transport for London. He also pledged to conduct more research to identify how safety improvements for motorcyclists could be made. One of the suggestions by Siobhan Benita to tackle safety was to ‘punish more severely those who break the law’.
Steve Kenward, CEO of the MCI says, “We look forward to working with the new Mayor for London, and would like to see the Mayor work with the Boroughs across the capital to open all bus lanes for use by motorcyclists. This would help with safety, which all mayoral candidates’ state is a priority. We are pleased that so many of them recognise the part motorcycling has to play in the provision of an integrated transport plan for London.
“However despite previous similar promises by Mayoral candidates and some good stand-alone initiatives introduced for motorcycling by both Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson, mainstream transport policy in London still does not recognise motorcycling as a transport choice. This will need to change if we are to see the motorcycling opportunity fully realised and safety improved. Motorcycles are just as legitimate as walking, cycling and public transport as forms of alternative transport.
Motorcycling generates £7 billion a year in income for the UK and employs 60,000 people and the new generation of scooters and electric bikes can help dramatically in reducing emissions as well as saving money for riders”.
Mayoral candidates were asked four key questions about their attitude and intentions towards motorcycling in London. These covered pollution, safety, specific policies they might introduce and provision for electric motorcycles.
The MCI and eMCI represent the supply and manufacture of both petrol and electric motorcycles and related services.
Actual replies can be forwarded if required.
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