Northamptonshire County Council is being acclaimed by the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) as the first UK council to actively encourage a modal shift towards motorcycling.
Through its Motorcycle Northants project, the council is seeking to increase the 0.4% of commuter traffic currently represented by motorcyclists in the county, aiming for an initial shift of 3%.
Measures to be introduced as part of the project include introducing motorcycle friendly infrastructure on roads and working with employers to improve workplace changing facilities and motorcycle parking.
The council will use Ride to Work Week (20-26 June) to highlight the benefits of commuting via motorcycle or scooter and has produced a video showing why this decision ‘makes sense’.
Motorcycle Northants is part of a wider initiative to encourage the use of sustainable transport options such as cycling, walking and public transport, in a bid to reduce congestion in the county.
Each day in Northamptonshire, an estimated 43% of commuter journeys are made by just one person in a car or van; as such, the council says there is great potential for some of these to be made on a powered two wheeler. It points to a European study showing that if 10% of car drivers swapped to a motorcycle, scooter or moped, congestion for all road users is reduced by 40%.
John Spencer, team leader of road safety and travel choices, Northamptonshire Highways, said: “As part of our modal shift strategy Northamptonshire County Council intends to embrace motorcycles and scooters as a sustainable transport mode within the future countywide transport programme.
“Greater use of motorcycles can bring environmental, congestion and accessibility benefits, particularly on journeys made for commuting to places of employment or education.
“The road safety team in Northamptonshire is committed to improving safety for all road users but is also looking at encouraging different ways to travel. In 2015 we carried out a motorcycle survey to reaffirm why people were using motorbikes, but also why they were not.
“We collaborate with various partners to encourage people to take up motorcycling as a safe, sustainable and better way of getting around.”