Bath bikers could be stung with extra costs as council consider introducing motorcycle parking fees

Urban motorcycle parking
Urban motorcycle parking

Bath and North East Somerset Council are considering the implementation of parking charges for motorcyclists for the first time ever.  

Should it get the go ahead, bikers will be required to pay the same rate as cars, which is proposed to increase by 6% from October 2024. On top of this, a sliding rate will be applied based on emissions or engine size. This will further add 2.5% per emission band or 5% per capacity band to the baseline charge. 

Where emissions data isn’t available, motorcycles will be charged based on cylinder volume, with anything over 600cc occupying the most expensive tier. For reference, this would mean that a Honda NC750X could be charged as much as a three litre engined car.

The new scheme is justified under the rationale that it will “improve the safety of road users (particularly vulnerable people) by improving air quality”, according to a statement by the council. 

Motorcycle parking bay

Councillor Manda Rigby, Liberal Democrat cabinet member for highways, stated that: “Whilst it’s recognised that motorbikes may be less impactful on congestion, they continue to utilise road space and emit pollutants.” 

Rigby continued: “Our aim is to continue the progress we have made in Bath on air quality, reduce congestion and encourage other ways to travel. While targets and legal limits exist for air pollution, there is no safe limit and any measures that reduce pollution from vehicles will have a positive impact on everyone’s health and the wider environment.”  

Speaking with MCN, IAM Roadsmart Policy Advisor, Neil Greig said: “This is just unfair, it makes no sense… [Bath and North Somerset Council] are looking at it completely wrong. Councils often see motorcycles as the problem when they should be viewing them as something to be encouraged as a congestion busting tool. 

“Motorcycles are often used a cheap mode of transportation in cities. Going after people who are likely on a tight budget during a cost-of-living crisis is completely the wrong approach to the problem.” 

Greig told MCN that local IAM members have already flagged the issue and suggested that the group plan to oppose the scheme by campaigning for a revised approach to improving air quality in the area.