MOTORCYCLE riders aren’t all hairy marauders causing trouble. To the Government they are more likely to be two-wheeled benefactors adding to the quality of city life. And Transport Minister Anthony Albanese is a big fan of big bikes and cute scooters, today talking up their roles “in the transport ecology of our cities”.
“And lightweight commuter bikes are usually the bestsellers among motorcycles.”
Mr Albanese pledged to maximise those benefits from motorbikes and to make two-wheeled travel easier for more people to take up. Already some 700,000 Australians have licences for motorcycles.
“The other unarguable fact is that motorcycles and scooters are the most fuel-efficient motorised personal transport mode,” Mr Albanese told a group of riders including MPs and members of the Australian Motorcycle Counciul.
“They have less embodied energy, only about a fifth of that involved in producing the rubber and steel and various parts that make up a car. Compared to the car, they also cause much less damage to roads – not to mention lower emissions.
“The surge in demand for cycles and scooters has created a major challenge.”
He said the Government would after the election:
* Beef up research into the benefits motorcycles bring to urban transport systems;
* Measures to ensure motorcycles are part of planning for urban transport;
* Expanding the statistical analysis of motorcycle use “beyond mortality rates” to take in behavioural and environmental factors;
* Work with states for nationally uniform regulations such as those dealing with safety standards for helmets.
Mr Albanese said there already was evidence that powered two-wheeled travel was helping make cities better places in which to live.
“They are space efficient at a time when space is at a premium in our major cities. Every day we see five or more scooters parked in a single car space,” Mr Albanese said.
He said: “Space-efficient transport modes like motorbikes and scooters can help more people reach their city centres helping entire cities function better.
“Motorcycles and scooters can fill the crucial gap in cities between walking and cycling, and taking the car. Too far for the push bike? Wheel out the Vespa, hit the starter button and you’re halfway there.”