On the campaigning side of things, it’s been a bit of a mixed bag. We’ve tried to have discussions with Leeds City Council about motorbikes in bus lanes but they’ve messed us about, turning up late to meetings in rooms that are double-booked and quoting the same old study that they’ve mentioned previously. It definitely feels like someone at Leeds council just doesn’t like motorbikes but doesn’t want to say so.
On the 20 year Single Transport Plan consultation held by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, things have been more successful. The results came out last week, with a summary on the WYCA website, and on our website. A more detailed report is on the WYCA website and on our website. Most of the report deals with public transport, but the main points dealing with motorbikes are:
- Motorcycles were highlighted as an omission from the Core principles
- Road safety should be a fundamental component of the plan
- All road and transport users should be considered in the plan, including motorcyclists.
The following comments were noted:
- Powered Two Wheelers (motorcycles and scooters) should be included in the Plan
- PTW users are vulnerable road users
- Motorcycles address congestion issues
- Wheels to Work schemes can address employment/training access
- Motorcycles have less pressure on parking
- Motorcycles cause less pollution
Of 398 responses from individuals, 83 noted the lack of motorbikes in the plan. There were also responses from the Leeds and Huddersfield MAG groups, MAG Central, and the Teafolk MCC. It’s difficult to say how many of these came as a direct result of our publicity, but the WYCA described the 83 as a “significant” number and it’s a good 22% of the responses. That’s approaching an organized lobby!
Along with the consultation itself was our demo ride and the publicity that came with it. The chair of the WYCA transport committee was interviewed on TV and radio, and he promised to hold workshops with us as part of phase 2. A couple have taken place already and we’re working on getting the MAG Pathways to Progress plan incorporated in the Single Transport Plan. The main points of this plan are:
- Urgent review of road furniture and ‘safety’ schemes to identify and eliminate elements that have potential for adverse impacts on PTW rider safety
- Lifting bans on PTWs in all with-flow bus lanes
- Provision of parking facilities for PTWs should be on a par with bicycles
- Ensure that PTW rider safety is considered as much as other vulnerable road users in all road scheme consultations – and from the outset of all scheme developments
- The introduction of a Motorcycling Officer in all local transport authority areas
Quite a lot of road safety elements also affect pedal cyclists. Your webmaster is one of these as well as holding a full A class motorbike licence and understands that poor road surfaces, badly laid out junctions, deliberate traffic calming obstacles like speed humps, build-outs and chicanes, and cycle lane segregators such as armadillos can be downright dangerous regardless of whether or not your bike has an engine.
Initial impressions of the WYCA’s workshops seem quite promising. They were only formed last year and they’re keen to show they’re doing something. It would also appear to be a way to bypass some of the motorbike-hostile elements of Leeds City Council. However it needs to be treated with some caution as a spending review is on the horizon and it is expected to be pretty brutal.
Phase 2 of the plan is currently underway with more workshops planned. After that phase 3 will be a formal consultation into the detailed plan which will hopefully include MAG as an interested party. Meanwhile the WYCA advises the best way to stay informed is to email firstname.lastname@example.org with details of the areas that you’re interested in. MAG can do a certain amount as an organized group but individual members need to get involved as well to influence the WYCA and local borough councils.