As part of its modal shift strategy Northamptonshire County Council has embraced motorcycles and scooters as a sustainable transport option for a number of years. It was the first Local Authority in the country to fully encourage modal shift from cars to motorcycles particularly for journeys beyond the distance which make walking or cycling a viable transport option for employees or travelling to places of education. The strategy sits neatly beside the usual promotion of smarter active travel and public transport. John Spencer, the Road Safety & Travel Choices Team Leader, explains why and how they are leading the way with this progressive transport policy.
“In terms of motorcycles, we have adopted a pragmatic approach in promoting a form of transport that is often overlooked in sustainable transport policies around the country.
We know that greater use of motorcycles can bring environmental, congestion and accessibility benefits particularly on journeys made for commuting to places of employment or education. This form of transport should therefore have the same status as walking, cycling and public transport in terms of modal shift choices.
Riders save considerable time on end to end journeys, take up less space to park and reduce the impact on road surface degradation.
Smaller motorcycles and scooters are more fuel efficient, making travel more affordable, which also means lower CO2 emissions.
In addition, and whilst accepting that motorcyclists are a vulnerable road user group, we were encouraged that rider casualties have fallen in the county by nearly 40% over the past 20 years, all against an exponential rise in sales and journeys.
As an example, Northamptonshire is a major growth area in terms of population and the logistics sector. We therefore have an expectation that all new planning approvals and travel plans for commercial/residential developments include motorcycle promotion and secure parking facilities.
Employers therefore have a crucial role in encouraging and incentivising their employees to commute by motorcycle.
The opportunity to embed this mind-set has never been greater than during this pandemic crisis where the fear of infection is forcing us to rethink our travel options.
Walking and cycling within reasonable distances provide an obvious option but motorcycles and scooters should be included in that mix, particularly for longer journeys.
This is precisely why we are supporting the Motorcycle Action Group and Ride to Work Day. We want to encourage employers and employees who own motorcycles and scooters to work together and make this an effective sustainable travel solution.”
At MAG, we are delighted that Northamptonshire County Council are trail blazing an enlightened approach to motorcycles. We look forward to more Local Transport Authorities following suit.