We Ride London campaign launched to improve safety and oppose ULEZ charge

Published: 30 November 2016

The We Ride London campaign is hoping to convince Transport for London to increase motorcycle safety provision and to properly consider motorcycles in London’s emission proposals

London’s road network has been creaking for years and this year it finally ended up almost back where it started at an average journey speed of 7.9mph. Many reasons have been attributed to this: more roadworks, higher population, 40,000 more taxis… The list goes on but of all of the options, we’re confident in saying motorcycles aren’t one of them. Yet, despite being seen as one of the solutions to London’s congestion problem, motorcycles are not part of TfL’s plans. In fact, they’ve allocated absolutely zero budget to motorcycle provision, even though 55,000 people ride a motorcycle or scooter in London every day.

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One of We Ride London’s chief aims is to get city authorities to acknowledge the need for increased motorcycle safety provision including protection of lane widths to allow for safe filtering and London-wide use of bus lanes. We Ride London are also seeking to oppose the current proposals of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) as it is very unclear in its discussion of bikes.

“We’re sort of seen as pests, rather than part of solution for keeping London moving,” says Mike Butler, Co-founder of We Ride London. “We would like to encourage people to take two-wheeled transport, whoever they may be, as it cuts down journey times and congestion for everyone but we think TfL’s current proposals will discourage people.”

The ULEZ proposal is that any motorcycle or scooter that is not Euro3 compliant (ie. made before 1st July 2007) will have to pay up to £12.50 per day charge to drive inside the North or South Circular. Unlike the congestion zone, the ULEZ will apply 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

“The people that need representation most of all are those that ride a motorcycle or scooter just to get to work,” says Butler. “They’re builders, cooks, surgeons, cleaners, your neighbour, your son or daughter or whatever… Some of these people can’t use public transport due to odd hours, or cost, and to those people new bikes could be financially out of reach while a £12.50 daily charge would be totally unaffordable.”

“There are other hidden costs too,” adds Philip Marshall, fellow co-founder. “There are over 1500 mechanics inside the proposed wider ULEZ whose businesses would all be badly affected.”

To raise awareness of the campaign, We Ride London has a Facebook page and they are also encouraging people to take part on Instagram and Twitter using the #WeRideLondon hashtag. In the meantime, there’s still some time remaining on the ULEZ consultation so they are urging everyone to respond to it. You can do so here: ULEZ consultation 

And while it’s tempting to think this doesn’t affect you because you don’t live in London, there are already five other UK cities earmarked for similar measures including Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham so get involved!

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