With National Clean Air Day (June 21) falling in the middle of ‘Ride to Work Week’ (June 18-24), it’s a good opportunity to highlight the part motorcycles and scooters could play in reducing air pollution in the UK.
Swedish authorities recently acknowledged that powered two wheelers are a less polluting form of personal transport and made them exempt from any charge or restriction in the new emission zones which will be introduced in Sweden from 2020.
The UK Motorcycle Industry Association is calling on the UK Government and all local authorities to do the same.
There are currently 248 new Euro 4 compliant bike models on the market which meet the Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) criteria. That means they emit 75g/km CO2 or less.
‘Ride to Work Week’ highlights the benefits of commuting via motorcycle or scooter, which are considerable. These include saving time, saving money, easier and often free parking, reducing congestion and enjoyable travel.
If more people rode to work, there would be a significant reduction in congestion, which contributes to poor air quality. Just a small shift would make a big difference. A European study, which modelled a particularly congested stretch of road into Brussels Belgium, 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.
The World Health Organisation has estimated poor air quality costs the UK economy a staggering £54 billion a year, accounting for 3.7% of GDP and the premature deaths of 29,000 people each year.
Tony Campbell, CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Association, which initiates the ‘Ride to Work Campaign’, is convinced that powered two wheelers, along with other forms of light, clean fuel motorised personal mobility will be the future of inner city and urban transport:
“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. We need 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”.