-- Is Government listening...? - A release from the Australian Motorcycle
Motorcycles and scooters have finally been recognised as a smart transport choice in what is perhaps the first official national report that openly acknowledges key advantages and benefits of powered two wheelers in reducing congestion, improving the liveability of cities, and being kind to the environment.
The Australian Motorcycle Council has welcomed comments from Anthony Albanese MP, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, on the release of the State of Australian Cities 2012 report in Melbourne this week.
In releasing the report, Minister Albanese highlighted the benefits of what he described as the “often-forgotten transport mode, motorcycles and scooters”; in referring to information from the 2011 Census and drawing on personal observations from Australia and overseas.
“As I can attest from my recent trip to Italy, many of the world's cities are thronged with motorbikes and scooters as people take advantage of this low-cost, low-energy and space-efficient form of transport,” Minister Albanese said.
“However in the Australian policy context, they tend only to be mentioned in discussions about safety. This can obscure the fact that they are an important and growing component of the urban transport mix at a time when congestion drags like an anchor on our time and productivity,” he continued.
"This is a massive shift in approach," said Shaun Lennard, chairman of the AMC.
"Just last year, the National Transport Commission released its report, Smart Transport for a Growing Nation, which failed to mention the growing popularity of motorcycling. Actually, it failed to mention motorcycles altogether. The AMC took the commission and the government to task over this."
"The NTC isn't alone though. Almost all discussions and reports in Australia referring to alternative and more sustainable transport choices refer to the same trilogy – public transport, cycling and walking."
"Motorcycles give people greater personal mobility choice, and the ability to get from your start point to your destination efficiently."
"There have been encouraging signs in some parts of the country – the Sydney City Council, for example, has a policy that encourages motorcycle and scooter use. But to really work, this needs to be led at a state and federal level."
"One particular comment from Minister Albanese reflects exactly what the AMC has been saying for the past four years – that when it comes to motorcycles and scooters, governments have quarantined this to the road safety basket."
"But motorcycling is a legitimate – and smart – transport choice. The number of people riding motorcycles in Australia has almost doubled in the past decade to over 700,000."
"At the same time crash rates have in fact halved. The reality is that there has never been a safer time to ride a motorcycle in Australia."
“And the more people riding motorcycles, the better the traffic flows for everyone else."
“I talked about this in the AMC’s presentation at the Urban Congestion Conference in Sydney earlier in the year. As was shown in the Leuven study in Belgium, having more people on motorcycles can make a significant impact in reducing congestion.”
In welcoming the report, the AMC flagged that the next step is to take this forward as policy.
"The words in the report are great. However, the AMC maintains our position of calling on each of the major parties to develop a platform position on motorcycling prior to the 2013 federal election," Lennard concluded.
For more news, follow the AMC on Facebook – www.facebook.com/AustralianMotorcycleCouncil
The full State of Australian Cities 2012 report can be found here: http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/infrastructure/mcu/soac/index.aspx
Minister Albanese’s full speech can be found here:
The 2011 Transport and Mobility Leuven (Belgium) study can be found here:
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