What the Hell is THE ULTRA LOW EMISSIONS ZONE in London and why is it anti biking?

So here in the UK, well mostly more specifically in London, there is the new ultra low emission zone which came into force on April the 8th.

As it stands, if you have a motorcycle that’s older than 2007 and does not comply with the euro 3 emissions ratings then you will not be allowed to ride your motorcycle through the you ULEZ which is pretty much the centre of London for free.

If you pay the £12.50 a day charge, if your bike is ineligible for the discounts basically you have to pay this charge and if you don’t pay the charge and then you have to pay a £160 and that goes down to £80 if you pay within two weeks or whatever it is…so very good for them really…that’s Transport for London you can thank for actually getting this off the ground.

Yes they’re going to fight emissions congestion but actually they’re hitting the road users that can actually help the most in many ways. You know we’re not talking about pedestrians or cyclists here we’re talking about actually long-distance riders or vehicle owners and motorcyclists form that part and so they they’re good for short or long distances.

They’re good for traffic due to their physical size and they’re good for the environment in general terms or relative terms to cars because they have a lot less emissions so why are the Transport for London and the Mayor of London wanting to target motorcyclists in this way is beyond me.

Now interestingly enough what happened was the various groups have approached the Mayor of London and Transport for London as well to discuss this issue and to discuss this targeting. To discuss actually most motorcycles and scooters have a tangible benefit to environmental issues in relative terms of course and also to congestion which is the biggest issue in urban areas as that directly impacts pollution and environmental issues. 

So you’ve got to question the reasoning here! What is the reasoning behind it? If the motorcycle is pre 2007 and it doesn’t comply with the euro three emissions rating…okay we get that, we understand that from an emissions point of view. However, if you think about how many vehicles are actually older than 2007 and what is the offset between actually the pollutant they could cause and the amount of time that they’re stood still compared to other vehicles like cars and lorries?

Motorcycles can weave through traffic, they can filter to the front of the queue actually they’re hardly ever still and so the whole point is of whatever they produce in terms of CO2 emissions is vastly offset by the speed at which they go through so the engines are running a lot less time therefore they’re not

producing as much, so from the environmental point of view they actual are better than modern cars too.

From a congestion point, then you’re actually taking away a net benefit from people who have older motorcycles, taking their ability to ride through the city whether for business, commuting or whether for pleasure, you need to question…where is the benefit, where is the endgame here? Because there aren’t that many motorcycles really I think that are older than 2007, the last count was about a 1000-1500 and that which directly effected those who live in the London ULEZ area and anybody else arriving into London? Well, so some are not going to bother riding into London, they’re going to probably use public transport, or they’ll have their own newer bike or newer than 2007 and so they’ll be unaffected.

So if this is all about congestion easing, if this is all about environmental concerns, then why charge why give the riders this get-out-of-jail-free card but it’s not free, but as long as they pay £12.50 a day then it’s all ok…it just doesn’t make sense. It’s not a well thought through plan and as I say other groups have

got in touch with the Mayor’s office and TFL and they tried to reason with them. They tried to have a stay of execution they’ve tried to delay this for motorcycles for all, a lot more and and to say look you know, really think about the net benefits of motorcycling but they’re not happening.

Now, this doesn’t really affect me as I ride a 2017 bike and I very rarely would ride into London anyway but I going to London all the time but I get the train.

It’s not really a personal issue for me but fundamentally a flawed policy, it’s flawed thinking and this happens all the time.

This happens all the time when politicians get in the way of actual proper thinking and they fail to understand exactly what’s going on in within the community. What benefits there are, motorcycles and motorcyclists are still seen as the dirty underclass in many ways,  they’re not seen as having any 

kind of benefit no matter what we bring to society no matter what jobs we have, no matter what the industry as a whole or what we contribute to the economy of the country for example. It doesn’t make any difference we’re still seen as that underclass and still seen as a bit of a nuisance really. 

If you go into the TfL website which is really a bit condescending, they’re basically saying okay you can pay this £12.50 if your bike is older than 2007 so that’s okay you can do that…but we don’t really want you to do that so, just invest in another motorcycle that’s newer than 2007 or just take public transport.

What about people that can’t afford it, it’s their pride and joy of a motorcycle and is older than 2007.  Let’s say they have a classic motorcycle on classic status and they want to ride that out on a Sunday or Saturday or a midweek whatever it is. The problem is that we’re not really catering for these sorts of people, ones who have got all older motorcycles because they can’t afford anything newer than that or they have got a classic bike which they cherish a bit

It might be an old scooter, a Kawasaki or whatever, it might be an old British bike like a Triumph or a Norton. It’s older than 2007 and they don’t want to sell it…why should they sell their bike just to appease some ridiculous policy? A policy that doesn’t actually work for motorcycles? 

Cars and lorries and everything have their own restrictions… absolutely fine, but they are greater polluters, they have a greater impact on the environment, they have a much greater impact in terms of congestion for all the roads are in London.

I truly want to understand why policy makers come up with such ridiculous policies that have little of no impact on the issues they are trying to resolve but actually impact the people more so for no reasons whatsoever.

If you live outside of London ULEZ area you will be forced to pay the daily charge if you wish to ride a motorcycle that is older than 2007, regardless of the net benefits to pollution and traffic congestion it has. The net result it will force more people onto overcrowded public transport or impact on people’s freedom of movement too.

If you live within the ULEX zone, then either pay the daily charge, go on public transport, or sell your old bike in favour of a newer biker…or put the bike in a van or on a trailer and drive outside of the ULEZ zone, then ride your bike…how ridiculous is that?

The fact is that this policy and the policy makers have totally misunderstood the benefits of motorcycling especially in urban areas. They fail to see the net benefit of motorcycling in congestion easing and thus in reducing pollution. The crime here is that the power brokers remain unchallenged and the lobbyists are unable to lay any convincing argument or any argument that is well received.

This is an indictment of the current transport strategy thinking of London but also around many towns and cities around the UK and within Europe too. They should take a leaf out of the book of some councils which do recognise the net benefits and are working to encourage more motorcycling. But when politicians and bureaucrats only like the sound of their own voices, then you know you’re onto a slippery slope into a state that does not listen to reason or dissenting voices…what does that sound like to you?


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