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You CAN stop the £100 supertax for bikes

Published: 14 January 2002

MCN is campaigning to stop what we see as a potentially grossly unfair hike in the road tax we pay for our motorcycles.

The proposals are hidden in a DVLA consultation paper, which question riders on a new system of bike taxation.

Among their plans is a £100 supertax for bikes above 400cc.

The consultation gives us a chance to tell them " no " and to put forward good reasons why not. And if we don’t take the opportunity, there’s a danger we’ll end up making up the losses the Government is suffering from their new emissions-based car tax system.

We can’t think of a single good reason to raise bike tax – but we can think of seven concrete ones why the government should cut the amount of money we pay to use the road. Read them below and bear them in mind when you click the link, right, to fill in the DVLA’s on line consultation form

Here’s our top seven reasons:

Bikes Pollute Less: New EU emissions standards have seen the smoky old bike relegated to the pages of history. Modern motorcycles feature catalytic converters and fuel injection. Combined with the higher specification to which motorcycle engines are built, they are already on a par with some of the cleanest car engines. But even the cleanest car is still at the mercy of traffic jams and no matter how efficient the engine, while ever the car is stationary, it’s achieving precisely zero miles per gallon. But not only are motorcycles cleaner to run, they’re cleaner to build and dispose of. MCIA – Motorcycle Industy Association – figures calculate that the average motorcycle uses just 15% of the materials that a car does during manufacturing. And over 75% of the average scrapped motorcycle is almost immediately recycled on further machines. The remaining 25% is recycled through existing channels.

Bikes Damage the Road Less: A fully-laden motorcycle still weighs less than half that of a single-occupancy car. We use less road, cover less annual mileage and when was the last time you saw a motorcycle running over the verge, hitting the kerb, or creating ‘tram-lines’ in the motorway. We don’t. David Armstrong, a spokesman for the Refined Bitumen Association, the trade association that advises many Highway agencies across Europe, said: " The damage created by motorcycles is completely negligible, so negligible that they aren’t even taken in to consideration when roads are tested for durability. The real culprits are HGVs and Buses, they’re really the only vehicles which can actually damage today’s roads. "

Bikes cost less to run: Bikes consume between 55% and 81% less fuel than a car per journey according to the European Motor Vehicle Emissions Group or MVEG. They claim that even the largest bikes are operating near their most fuel-efficient at the average speeds encountered in cities and urban environments. By contrast, passenger car’s worst fuel consumption figures are almost always to be found in the city. A lower road tax would simply reinforce the motorcycles position as one of the cheapest ways of getting yourself on the road. The Government has already stated it wants to reduce ‘social exclusion’ in personal transport – i.e. allow people of all incomes access to their very own transport. The motorcycle and moped is, of course, the ideal solution.

Bikes Congest Less Even a fully laden GoldWing takes up less space than a car. And an R1 takes up the same amount of road space as an L-plated NSR125, so to increase tax on 1000cc bikes, but not the smaller, makes little sense. The Government themselves admit that one of the major objectives of the road tax review is to reduce congestion. Taxing large capacity bikes to the same levels as small cars isn’t going to reduce traffic jams. Liberal Democrat MP, and Chairman of the all-party Motorcycle Group, Lembit Opik, says: " I’d rather see every commuter on a 1300cc superbike than in the smallest of saloon cars. The more motorcycles that are on the road, moving, the fewer cars are stood stationary in traffic. "

Motorcycles Reduce Journey Times: A study of journey times in urban areas found that motorcycles take from 16% to 44% less time to cover any given distance. And in across-London races like the Jubilee Challenge, which pits bikes, bicycles, taxis, the tube and pedestrians together, we always take the gold. The natural advantages of our bikes allow us to slip through traffic without stopping, leaving cars to crawl through miles of stop-start traffic jams. If more people were to be encouraged on to motorcycles and mopeds, by scrapping or cutting road tax, they could save themselves thousands of lost hours spent commuting. The less time spent commuting also means less people using the roads at any given time, thus helping reduce congestion.

Motorcycles Require Less Parking Space: The Government’s objectives of reducing congestion and improving the urban environment can be met by using our bikes. We take up far less space when we park, and off-street bike parks allow traffic on the roads to move more freely. In the average car park space you can fit up to five bikes – regardless of engine capacity.

We Are The Solution To The Government’s 10-Year Transport Plan:

If the Government encourage motorcycle use (by dropping VED) it will allow them to reach the objectives they set in their very own 10-year transport plan. It might mean nothing to us, the road users, but politicians make promises all the time. And the more they can keep, the better they look. According to the Ten Year Transport Plan that the Secretary of State John Prescott revealed in June 2000, the Government aims to produce a transport system that is " faster " , " more accessible " and that " reduces environmental impacts " . Motorcycles fulfil all these requirements, and many more.

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