Draft London Transport Strategy

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The Mayor has requested feedback on his draft transport strategy through a consultation that closes on October 2nd 2017.  #WeRideLondon encourages you all to take part in the consultation process to continue to apply pressure to meet our campaign demands to:

  • Increase action against bike theft and bike-jacking
  • Protect lane widths to allow safe lane filtering
  • Exclude motorcycles & scooters from congestion and pollution charging
  • Allow universal use of bus lanes as pioneered by TfL
  • Provide adequate secure motorcycle parking

It’s a very comprehensive and well written document. Clearly a lot of time and effort has gone into the creation. Inevitably there is a mixed bag of highlights as it relates to our campaign. The assessment is summarised below:

The good

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On the face of it, a clean air policy has to be a good one. While the statistics don't tell the whole story, there is no doubt pollution from vehicles contributes to premature deaths in London and around the UK. It's difficult not to agree with the high level policies laid out in the document related to this. The statements related to safety and reduction of deaths are admirable.

Motorcycles have their own section! The proposals sound very positive and its hard to find fault with them but they stop short of a truly inclusive strategy leading to policies. They do, however, directly cover one of our campaign objectives for use of bus lanes.

The bad

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The car and motorcycle bear the brunt of the blame for this in the document whereas we know that buses, black taxis and trucks are the main contributor to pollution in London. However these buses and taxis are exempt from action subject to long dated commitments to be electric by certain dates.

The solution to motorcycle safety is pinned on education and awareness. While this is important the causes are not being addressed.

The ugly

Further pedestrianisation, lane narrowing and cycle lanes are on the way. While of course this is positive in the context of pedestrian safety, it robs powered vehicles of road space and on our 2,000 year old 8 million person city there simply isn’t the room! This will make it more dangerous for motorcycles and scooters and in stark contrast to the reduction of deaths. Pages 54/55 cover the proposed cycle routes (also below) 

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While motorcycles are referred to in the document, there is no doubt that they are bundled with cars and vans and therefore included in the schemes aimed at reducing pollution and congestion.

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ULEZ is still including motorcycles BUT there is clarify on dates. 2019 for central London and 2021 for inside the North/South Circular. 

There are no inclusive references to motorcycles & scooters at all. We are still in the 'bad bucket' to be driven off the roads.

Conclusion:

Fundamentally there is a conflict & contradiction between the objectives of the strategy. 

On one hand the document wants Londoners to move better, breath better and move about safer. All good stuff.

But on the other hand riding a motorcycle or scooter through increasingly narrow roads, stuck in traffic will lead to increased congestion, increased pollution, increased casualties and sadly deaths while forcing small businesses to close their doors as their customers have to give up riding as they can no longer afford it which in many cases will lead to jobs leaving London. Doesn’t make sense.

We Ride London would encourage you all to complete the consultation and make your own minds up. We would suggest that while completing the consultation we propose adding a comment to state something along the lines of:

“While I am encouraged to see motorcycles featured in the strategy, I am extremely disappointed that they are not seen as part of the solution to London’s congested roads and to reduce pollution. Through TfL’s own investigations it has been proven that motorcycles contribute less than 1% of pollution to London. Even less when you consider that a moving vehicle produces less pollution per mile than a stop/start/stationary vehicle with their engine running. A recent real world test by Motorcycle News (MCN) showed that a motorcycle takes 1/3 of the time than a car on a similar route through London.  

Proposing a ULEZ charge of the same rate as a car or van is disproportionate and will hurt the grass roots riders who use older scooters and bike to get to work as they either can’t afford to travel any other way or their hours don’t support it. Even more affluent riders are buying older bikes & scooters now due to the costs and risks of owning a bike in London related to the epidemic of motorcycle thefts in London. Your own document recognises that motorcycles & scooters are less than 2% of traffic.

Many of the proposals in the strategy seem perfectly reasonable in isolation but widening pavements and building more cycle superhighways will further narrow the carriageway and will increase casualties and fatalities or motorcyclists. This is in stark contrast to your admirable goals to reduce road casualties and fatalities.”

Whatever your views, we encourage you all to read and respond to this very important consultation.

https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/policy/mayors-transport-strategy/

#WeRideLondon #ProtectBikers #BikersUnited

Mike Butler