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UK

11/07/2018

The author of a study of PTW use in London has branded the mayor’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone policy as illogical and called for a rethink on the introduction of a £12.50 per day charge for older motorcycles.

Dr Elaine Hardy, said to be an independent research analyst specialising in motorcycling issues, says riders have “every reason to be concerned” about the policy and have a strong case to present to exempt the ULEZ charges for older PTWs.

Dr Hardy says two possible solutions would be an exemption from the charge or a proportionate charge in consideration of the fact that the overall usage of pre-Euro 3 PTWs is less in comparison to Euro 3 standard PTWs.

The survey was carried out online over six weeks between March and May 2018 and focused on motorcyclists who typically ride PTWs to work within the proposed ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) areas of London.

There are two defined ULEZ areas: the first comes into operation in April 2019 and is confined within the Congestion Charging zone; and the second which comes into operation in October 2021 and covers Greater London up to the North Circular and South Circular roads.

The survey was a study to identify specific issues relating to PTWs which fall within the Euro 3 emission standards (PTWs manufactured from 2007 onwards) and relating to bikes which fall into pre-Euro 3 emission standards (PTWs manufactured prior to 2007) which would thus incur a charge of £12.50 (excluding historic PTWs which were manufactured prior to 1973).

Four hundred and twenty people responded to the survey, 245 of whom worked within the Congestion Charge zone and 109 who worked in the Greater London area. Thirty-six riders worked outside London but indicated that they frequently travelled into the capital.

Among the findings, explained in more detail in the August issue of BDN, are that, although low wages were cited by some riders who own pre-Euro 3 PTWs and work in the inner London Congestion Charge zone, they were not the main reason riders of these older machines (or riders of Euro 3 standard PTWs, come to that) chose their PTWs to travel to work.

The factors indicated in the comments made by the riders relate to time and travel cost. Furthermore, the cost of travelling by PTW is considerably less than using a car or public transport.

Another reason cited was the unreliability and/or unavailability of public transport.

By examining the information from the survey, the majority of PTWs used by the respondents are Naked (standard) motorcycles or Adventure types. As these bikes (especially the newer models) are targeted by criminals for spare parts, the solutions to prevent the theft of these vehicles include better parking facilities “but also using old battered up bikes for commuting to deter the discerning thief”.

PARADOX

Research author Dr Elaine Hardy said: "Riders have every reason to be concerned and have a strong case to present to exempt the ULEZ charges for older PTWs.

"It is a paradox that the mayor’s office is looking for solutions to prevent the high levels of theft by denying access to London through the high daily charges for riders who choose to ride pre-Euro 3 bikes in consideration of the fact that these older PTWs are less attractive to thieves.

"One potential answer is exemption from the charge or a proportionate charge in consideration of the fact that the overall usage of pre-Euro 3 PTWs is less in comparison to Euro 3 standard PTWs."

In terms of emissions and pollution, the fundamental argument, as demonstrated from other studies in Europe, is that PTWs use far less travel time and are far less likely to be held up in traffic jams. Thus in Dr Hardy’s opinion, in real terms, the pre Euro 3 PTWs would pollute less in comparison with four-wheeled vehicles that are compliant with the later 4 and 5 Euro standards, especially diesel fuelled vehicles, simply because they are not standing idle for the lengths of time that cars, vans, lorries and buses are.

The report concludes: "It would not be beyond the realms of the authorities of London to look again and consider that a solution can be found with what should be a reasonable and realistic compromise.”

 Click HERE to read the Survey