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19th to 25th June is Ride to Work Week

16th June 2017

What would happen to congestion, parking problems and the stress levels of drivers if just 10% of people switched to a motorcycle or scooter?

There would be huge benefits for all road users if just 10% of motorists swapped their car for a motorcycle or scooter.  These include 20% more parking spaces, a 40% reduction in congestion for all road users and a reduction in the financial impact of congestion.

Wear and tear on roads would be less, rider safety would improve and importantly - 10% less car drivers would be miserable!

40% reduction for all

A Belgian study, which modelled the traffic for one of Europe's most congested roads, found that if 10% of motorists swapped their car for a motorcycle, scooter or moped, then congestion was reduced for all road users by 40%.  When 25% of drivers swapped, congestion was eliminated altogether. [Ref 1]

More people could park

Three motorcycles or scooters can fit into the same space one car takes.  This means that if just 10% of car spaces were given over to riders, then 20% more people would be able to park.  The National Travel Survey shows that 87% of car commuters drive to work alone, so there is huge capacity to increase the number of spaces available to people who swap to a motorcycle or scooter. [Ref 2]

10% less stressed commuters

Motorcyclists generally report higher levels of happiness in surveys about commuting and this was confirmed in a one-off survey by the Office for National Statistics.  It found that riding a motorcycle, moped or scooter had no negative impact on journeys of up to half an hour and after that it was negligible.  This was in contrast to users of most other modes of private and public transport. [Ref 3]

Knock on cost benefits

There are many calculations estimating the cost of congestion to the UK economy.  The INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard recently calculated this to be around £30 billion a year. This would naturally reduce if congestion was cut by 40%.  [Ref 4]  Road maintenance would reduce too, as motorcyclists and scooters are lighter than cars and vans, so impact less on road surfaces.

Gain up to four days holiday a year

According to the most recent INRIX Scorecard, UK drivers spend an average of 32 hours a year in traffic jams.

Steve Kenward, CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Association, which organises Ride to Work Week, says a driver could gain up to the equivalent of an extra four days holiday a year, if they switched to a motorcycle or scooter:

"Motorcyclists and scooter riders don't waste 32 hours a year watching the bumper of the car in front, as they can filter.  This means they tend to move through congested traffic at the same rate you would expect to move through free-flowing traffic.

"32 hours is the equivalent of four working days, which equates to an extra four days holiday each year.  no wonder riders are the happiest commuters!" [Ref 5]

Try for free

Try a motorcycle or scooter for free with a qualified instructor at a Get On event.  They are held throughout the year across the UK.  Find out if there is one near you here.


Ref 1: See Commuting by Motorcycle, Impact analysis of an increased share of motorcycles in commuting traffic, Transport and Mobility Leuven.   Click here

Ref 2.  From Government National Travel Survey data set.  See: Car/van occupancy by trip purpose 2015.  Table NTS0906.  Click here

Ref 3.  Commuting and Personal Wellbeing 2014, Office for National Statistics.  Click here

Ref 4.  See full release from INRIX: Traffic congestion cost UK motorists more than £30 billion in 2016.  Click here

Ref 5.  A series of Ride to Work Week 'city challenges' in some of the UK's most congested cities tested the ability of motorcyclists to move through rush hour traffic more effectively than other modes of transport.  These videos demonstrate what happened.. Click here

Additional notes

  • Ride to Work Week is organised by the Motorcycle Industry Association.
  • Government licensing data shows the number of motorcycle, scooter and moped riders licensed and licence exempt has increased by 74% since 1995, while fatalities of motorcyclists and their passengers have decreased by 17%.* The ‘safety in numbers’ argument is also being used by the cycling lobby.  See Department for Transport tables VEH0301 and RAS30060.
  • An analysis of casualties in mainland Europe also found that when 10% of traffic on the road were motorcycles or scooters, this resulted in a significant decrease in causalities.   
  • One local authority has woken up to the potential benefits of reducing congestion by encouraging a modal shift towards motorcycles and scooters.  Motorcycle Northants is a Northamptonshire County Council initiative, which includes motorcycle and scooters as a more sustainable option than private cars.  


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