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Motorcycles are the answer!

It sound so obvious, but when it comes to urban mobility, FEMA believes motorcycles and other powered two-wheelers should be actively promoted as a great alternative for cars. Especially during the annual European Mobility Week.

The week from 16 to 22 September 2018 is European Mobility Week. Many events will be organised and cities all over Europe compete to present their mobility solutions as smartest and greenest. As usual the focus will be on public transport, cycling and walking as the mobility solutions and alternatives for cars. FEMA thinks that powered two-wheelers (motorcycles, scooters and mopeds), are just as well part of the solution for present and future mobility challenges.

The benefits of motorcycles to cars are obvious:

 Motorcycles are narrow. They can filter through traffic and keep moving where cars stand still in traffic jams. This makes motorcycles faster than any other way of transport in urban traffic. This was shown again in the mobility test we performed earlier this year in 14 cities all over Europe. With one exception the motorcycle was the quickest way to commute. On average the motorcyclist needed 53% less time than the user of public transport. Motorcycling also turned out much cheaper than car driving.

Research that was done in Belgium by Transport&Mobility showed, that a transition from 10% of the car drivers to motorcycling reduced the total traveling time of all road users and the length of the traffic jams with 40% and emissions would be reduced with 6%. In many South-European cities traffic would come to a complete standstill without the massive use of scooters and motorcycles.

Motorcycles are also small and light: not only they can filter through the traffic and reduce the total traffic time for all road users, they also use less space to park. In many European cities it is allowed to park a motorcycle on the sidewalk, as long as pedestrians are not obstructed. Often the motorcyclist can use a spot that is too small for a car to park. In many cities special parking places are or can be created.

 The smaller size and less weight of motorcycles also means less wear of the road surface, less use of fuel and less emissions. We have compared the fuel consumption of cars and motorcycles in real daily use with the use of information that was provided by car- and motorcycle users in the German website It turned out that on average, motorcycles use 1 litre per 100 kilometres less than diesel cars and 3 litres per 100 kilometres less than petrol cars. Motorcycles also have less emission of toxic gasses, especially when compared to cars with diesel engines.

A growing use of electric scooters and motorcycles would even further reduce emissions. The most common problem with the transition from carbon fuels to electric is the rage, for electric two-wheelers in an urban environment this shouldn’t be a problem because they do not travel long distances.

Motorcycling, especially with smaller motorcycles or scooters, is much cheaper than driving a car: you use less fuel, you pay less taxes and normally you don’t need to pay for parking. In most countries you pay a reduced fee on toll roads or bridges. In the United Kingdom toll bridges are even free for motorcycles.

Unlike walking and cycling, motorcycles can be used for all distances, from short to long. And unlike public transport, motorcycles bring you from where you are to where you want to be 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

 Because of their advantages for congestion and environment, motorcycles are often allowed in low-emission zones (e.g. all low emissions zones in Germany) or are exempted from emission zone tolls, like we recently have seen in Birmingham.

FEMA General Secretary Dolf Willigers says: “Policy makers and city developers should have a better look at powered two-wheelers and the benefits they provide for urban traffic and for commuting. From my own experience I know that motorcycling is often the most convenient and quickest way of travelling, both for long and short distance, in todays jammed traffic. Motorcycles are also getting cleaner, safer and more silent, so there is no real reason to ignore them any longer”.