GCP Sustainable Travel Zone consultation: ’Making Connections’ with prejudice

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GCP Sustainable Travel Zone consultation: ’Making Connections’ with

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) claims that the Greater Cambridge
Partnership (GCP) proposals to charge motorcycles to enter a Sustainable
Travel Zone are based on misinformation and prejudice. GCP launched its
Making Connections consultation on 17th October. Included in the
consultations are plans to charge all motorised vehicles, including
motorcycles, a flat rate of £5 per day to enter what is being billed as
a Sustainable Travel Zone.

MAG activists in Cambridge caught wind of the plans to consult on a
sustainable travel zone weeks before the consultation launch. They
quickly found that the proposal was to charge motorcycles the same £5
charge as cars. Approaches were made to open dialogue with GCP, which
they ignored.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request showed that a formal presentation
delivered to Cambridgeshire County Council listed reasons to charge
motorcycles, including that the charge would be a “strong deterrent to
proliferation”. Arguments against a full exemption for motorcycles are
listed as “Lack of £ disincentive may encourage uptake as people switch
from car” and “Inherently less safe mode; incompatible with pedal
cycles”. Arguments against a reduced charge for motorcycles included
the statement that “rear-plate images are harder to accurately capture”.

A technical note discussing exemptions assesses motorcycles as having
“no significant impact on congestion reduction, sustainable travel or
air quality and safety benefits”.

Commenting on the findings, MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political
Engagement, Colin Brown, said:

“Once again, we are dealing with what can only be described as
anti-motorcycling prejudice. Claims that motorcycles are inherently
less safe and incompatible with pedal cycles are unfounded. I have
checked the figures for Cambridgeshire: in 2021 there were 58 motorcycle
casualties on urban roads in the county compared with 172 cycle
casualties. Claiming that motorcycles are incompatible with pedal
cycles naturally implies that pedal cycles are incompatible with
motorcycles, yet that argument is not made. I would like to see any
evidence base for these incompatibility claims. And saying that you
cannot apply a lower charge due to difficulties with ANPR cameras
reading rear plates is sheer stupidity: how do they intend capturing
rear plates for the full charge?! Had the council been willing to
engage with us we could have provided plenty of evidence for motorcycles
reducing congestion and improving air quality. It seems that
Cambridgeshire would rather engage with bias and misinformation than
take the time to speak to those who actually ride motorcycles.”

MAG is calling for all riders in the region to make their views known by
responding to the consultation and writing to councillors. MAG will
continue to press for dialogue with the council in an attempt to bring a
balanced view of motorcycling to the decision-making process.

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or central-office@mag-uk.org

The PowerPoint slide covering motorcycles presented to the council can
be found here:

The technical note on exemptions can be found here:

The Making Connections consultation can be accessed here:

Central Office
The Motorcycle Action Group Limited
Tel: 01926 844064
Fax: 01926 844065