You are here
Home > FEMA news > Low-emission zones and city bans could force motorcyclists into cars

Low-emission zones and city bans could force motorcyclists into cars

It is feared that motorcyclists who are no longer allowed to commute on their low-cost, pre-2006 motorcycles, may abandon motorcycling and switch to using a car instead. This could have serious consequences for urban traffic, congestion and pollution.

The current focus of European mobility strategies is on public transport, cycling and walking. However, public transport will never reach every urban area and cycling and walking are only good for limited distances. This means there will always be a need for individual motorised personal transport. In urban mobility FEMA, the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations, foresees a growing role for powered two-wheelers, especially motorcycles.

Motorcycles are smaller and lighter than cars and are able to keep moving where cars are stuck in traffic, which means they use less fuel, they pollute less and they save travelling time. Motorcycles provide the greatest flexibility of all means of personal transport, because they offer the freedom to travel where and when you want to.

Photography by Yamaha

In the meantime, motorcyclists experience a growing pressure by city councils to switch from older, affordable motorcycles to more expensive, less fuel consuming and cleaner motorcycles. Several city councils threaten to ban older motorcycles (pre Euro 3, built in 2006 and earlier) from cities or demand high tolls.

FEMA conducted a survey amongst European motorcyclists to find out if the average motorcycle commuter would be willing to invest in a new(er) motorcycle to keep commuting by bike and to find out how the European rider feels about buying and riding a non-emission bike.

If environmental restrictions would only allow for light, high-tech but low-power-output motorcycles (less than 60 brake horsepower), a small majority would still keep riding. A small majority of motorcyclists could even imagine enjoying the ride on a non-emissions bike.

But, a staggering 87% would not be willing to invest in a more expensive non-emissions bike. If fossil fuel vehicles were ever banned from entering the city, 76% would rather change transport mode than buy a non-emissions bike. This outcome could have serious consequences for urban traffic, congestion and pollution.

Dolf Willigers, FEMA’s general secretary: “It is high time for politicians all over Europe to start realizing that motorcycles and other powered two-wheelers are a part of the solution when it comes to urban mobility, and not part of the problem. Simply banning road users that aren’t even the real polluters from entering cities, is very short-sighted and counterproductive.”

Written by Wim Taal

In total 5,402 people from 30 countries took part in the FEMA survey (270 women and 5,132 men).

The age group of the participants:
16-30 years – 1,308 (24%)
31-45 years – 1,303 (24%)
46-60 years – 2,172 (40%)
61 years or higher – 619 (12%)

Click here to download this article as a pdf file.