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The Case for Powered Two-Wheelers

Powered two-wheelers (PTWs) – mopeds, scooters and motorcycles – can make a positive contribution to transport in the UK, thanks to several advantages:

  • Reduced congestion, because of their small size and manoeuvrability, leading to less pollution.
  • More efficient use of parking – three to four PTWs can use a single car space.
  • More flexible than public transport, with more reliable journey times.
  • Helping reduce social exclusion in rural areas.

PTWs do have limitations – they are unsuitable for large families, luggage capacity is limited and there is greater risk to users than public transport or cars – but this should not exclude them from the transport planning process at national, regional or local level. We accept that there is no simple answer to the UK’s transport problems, but the PTW is part of the solution.

The PTW in Transport Policy

PTWs are now included in the government transport agenda. The BMF welcomes this more positive attitude and recommends that government policy includes:

  • Recognition of equal importance and recommendation with walking, cycling and public transport.
  • Positive references to PTWs in all government policy road transport documents.
  • Setting PTW standards for devolved assemblies and local authorities to include PTWs in their planning policies.

Specific Policies – What PTWs Need to Thrive

Integrated Transport

Making PTWs part of the integrated transport network:

  • Sufficient dedicated parking – free of charge and secure.
  • Access to bus lanes, high occupancy vehicle lanes and advanced stop lines.
  • Exemption from road pricing, congestion charging and workplace parking levies.
  • Planning criteria to include minimum PTW parking standards.
  • Inclusion in travel awareness schemes such as Travelwise and in Green Transport Plans.

Fiscal Measures and Incentives

Maximising PTWs’ cost advantage over private cars:

  • Reform VED system, taking not only emissions into account but other factors such as weight. Zero rate for electric motorcycles and mopeds.
  • Lower or zero VAT rates for replacement visors and protective clothing – helmets are already zero rated.
  • Empower local authorities to offer ride to work schemes using subsidised moped hire.
  • Increase funding for road maintenance, particularly for local authorities.

Environmental Issues

PTWs have less impact on the environment than cars, thanks to generally smaller engines and being less prone to sitting in traffic jams. This could be further reduced through:

  • Enforcement of existing noise regulations, especially for aftermarket exhaust systems.
  • Encourage the shift from petrol to electric power, in advance of the proposed ban on sales of new petrol-powered PTWs in 2035.
  • Encouraging sales of electric bicycles and faster ‘speed pedelecs,’ retaining their current legal status as cycles. A new category for speed pedelecs between electric bicycles and mopeds.

Road Safety

The BMF calls for more realistic risk management and a pragmatic approach to road safety rather than the simplistic approach adopted in the past:

  • Making all road users take responsibility for their actions, as in the government THINK! Campaign.
  • Making vulnerable road user groups – including PTW riders – safer rather than discouraging them.
  • More hands-on traffic policing rather than enforcement cameras.
  • Use fine revenue to promote road safety through education and new road layouts.
  • Campaign to prevent diesel spillages.
  • Encouragement of continuing post-test rider training through reduced insurance premiums.
  • Educating all road users to increase awareness of vulnerable road users – walkers, cyclists and PTW riders


PTWs are more vulnerable to theft than cars, and the recovery rates are low. Vigorous policies to combat theft must be adopted:

  • Include PTW’s in any Home Office vehicle theft awareness campaign.
  • More government consideration of PTW security rather than concentrating on cars.
  • More street furniture and CCTV to enable secure on-street parking.
  • Secondary part-marking to make spare parts removed from stolen machines traceable.
  • Additional security measures on all PTWs, beyond a steering lock.


Telematics are increasingly common in the use and management of road traffic – government policy on this new technology should reflect the needs of PTWs:

  • PTWs should be included in the development and testing of telematic systems.
  • On-board systems that are compact, robust and secure against theft and vandalism need to be developed.
  • Further testing of the use of intelligent speed adaptation for PTWs.
  • Telematics should not be developed to the point where PTWs are excluded from certain roads.
  • All telematic systems should have built-in checks and balances to prevent unwarranted surveillance of the individual.

The BMF Manifesto

The BMF exists to protect, promote and preserve the use of all powered two-wheelers in the UK. With the right legislation, training and acceptance, they can be part of the transport solution.

BMF – Riding now, planning the future.