London biking survey supports emissions exemption

Published on 11 June 2018 by Robert Drane

A survey has looked into who rides motorcycles, scooters and mopeds in London and has found in favour of ensuring “continued free access to all areas in London”.

Prompted by proposals to introduce an ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) in London with a £12.50/day fee for vehicles which don’t meet the Euro 3 standard, the survey by Dr Elaine Hardy demonstrated that Powered Two-Wheelers (PTWs) give off less by way of emissions regardless of their Euro 3 compliance “simply because they are not standing idle for the lengths of time that cars, vans, lorries and buses are”.

The survey also found that travelling by bike allows “the rider to cut travel time considerably, from two to three hours using public transport to half an hour – at least half the time of using a car or van. Furthermore, the cost of travelling is considerably less than using a car or public transport.”

The survey also confirmed the impact of London’s notorious problem of motorcycle theft. In 2017, 14,000 thefts were identified – which is, as the survey noted, “11% of PTWs registered in the London area”. This has led to some bikers deliberately riding “old, battered-up bikes for commuting to deter the discerning thief”, effectively forcing them to choose between a non-compliant vehicle at risk from the new ULEZ charges or making themselves a target for thieves.

The first ULEZ is due to come into force in April 2019 within the existing Congestion Charging zone, while the second is scheduled for October 2021 and will cover all the way to the North and South Circular Roads. The survey found that 43% of riders in the 2019 ULEZ and 39% in the 2021 ELUZ owned pre-Euro 3 vehicles and would still be hit with the £12.50/day charge despite giving off less emissions.

The study, which can be found here, concluded that: “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.”

What do you think? Tell us on our Facebook page.