As well as being Ride to Work Week, today is also National Clean Air Day – and the British Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) is reminding commuters that a switch to motorcycling is the perfect way to help reduce air pollution in the UK.
Older motorcycles are among the many vehicles set to have to pay to enter London under the upcoming Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) regulations when they come into force in April 2019. Under these rules, bikes which don’t meet Euro 3 emissions regulations will need to pay £12.50 per day to enter the city, or face a £130 fine. This means that bikes registered before July 1 2007 will be affected.
There are currently 248 new Euro 4 compliant motorcycles and scooters on sale in the UK today and which meet the Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) criteria by emitting 75g/km CO2 or less. There is also a rise in interest in electric motorcycles, such as the Zero S (pictured), which are emission free.
As similar schemes roll out across the country, the MCIA is urging the British government to follow the Swedish authorities, which recently acknowledged that powered two wheelers are a less polluting form of personal transport. As a result the Swedish government has made motorcycles and scooters free from any restrictions or charges in the new emission zones that they are introducing from 2020.
“If more people rode to work there would be a significant reduction in congestion, which contributes to poor air quality,” states the MCIA. “ Just a small shift would make a big difference. A European study which modelled a particularly congested stretch of road into Brussels Belgium, it found that if just 10% of single occupancy car drivers swapped to a powered two wheeler (PTW), then congestion would be reduced by 40% for all road users. If this was increased to 25% congestion would be eliminated altogether.”
“There is no doubt about it, new and innovative vehicles are going to offer the solution to current commuter woes and many of those will come from the motorcycle manufacturers,” stated MCIA boss Tony Campbell. “We need the government and local authorities to open up to the possibilities of what our transport mix could look like, and make sure we incentivise people to opt for vehicles that use less road space and have a positive effect on pollution”
According to World Health Organisation statistics, poor air quality costs the UK economy £54 billion a year, accounting for 3.7% of GDP and the premature deaths of 29,000 people each year.