The Sandwell Strategy for Powered Two Wheelers.

Produced by Sandwell Motorcyclists Forum and Sandwell Council.

Think BIKE




  1. Chairmans foreword.
  2. Executive summary.

Part One:- Setting the scene.

  1. Objective.
  2. Background.
  3. How the Strategy was written.

Part Two:- Issues, Action.

  1. Some things to bear in mind when reading this Strategy.
  2. Powered two wheelers satisfy travel need.
  3. Safety.
  4. Theft.
  5. Parking.
  6. Road surface and highway design.
  7. Road works.
  8. Powered two wheelers in bus lanes.
  9. Powered two wheelers as an alternative to the car.
  10. Powered two wheelers as an affordable mode of transport.
  11. Implementation, monitoring and review.
  12. What other Councils are doing.
  13. Acknowledgements.
  14. Appendix A: A Study of Motorcycle, Moped and Scooter Use in Sandwell - summary of results.

For further information about this Strategy contact:-
Alan Tilly,

Sandwell M.B.C.
P.O. Box 42, Development House, Lombard Street,
West Bromwich, West Midlands. B70 8RU.
Tel. 0121 569 4261, Fax. 0121 569 4072,

1. Chairmans Foreword.

Everyone has travel needs. People need to get their shopping, travel to work and visit family or friends. The fortunate ones can choose how they travel. If they can afford it they could travel by car, if they live near a bus stop or train station by public transport and if they are able they can walk or cycle. We have inherited a transport hierarchy. The car is at the top of this list, cycling and walking somewhere near the bottom. Powered two wheelers hardly appear on the list at all. This is despite the fact that many rely on a motorcycle to get around but from the moment they set off they are vulnerable as well as facing a whole range of other difficulties.

Powered two wheelers come in all shapes and sizes. We all like to get on our bikes and go for a ride, 'Live to Ride, Ride to Live' if I may borrow from what someone else once said, but it should never be forgotten that they satisfy the riders daily travel needs. As congestion gets worse and the cost of motoring rises more and more people are choosing to travel by powered two wheelers. Notice how many newly registered brightly coloured scooters are now on the road often carrying 'L' plates. Times are changing and it's time to take motorcycling further.

Sandwell Council recognised that powered two wheelers satisfy travel need, are a vulnerable mode of transport and their numbers are growing but had no strategy for them. It was at this point that the decision was made to produce a 'Strategy for Powered Two Wheelers in Sandwell'. Who better to produce it then than riders themselves.

From the outset we have tried to produce a document that is as comprehensive as possible. I consider that this has been achieved. Each topic and the issues surrounding it have been considered in turn. This raises awareness of powered two wheelers and how decision makers can respond to the challenges ahead. The Strategy puts two wheelers firmly on Sandwell's transport agenda. The shared objectives are goals that the Council and the Forum are committed to achieve.

This Strategy leads the way and sets the standards for others to follow. To those that gave their time and effort producing it you are to be commended and have achieved something others have failed to do. You have put something back into this pride and passion of ours and earned the right to call yourself a MOTORCYCLIST.

Pat Riley (Proud to be) Chairman, Sandwell Motorcyclists Forum.

2. Executive Summary.

Powered two wheelers are used by people to satisfy their travel needs. They are a distinct class of road user and have a different perspective on a whole range of issues. They are concerned about their safety, the road surface, theft and parking as well as many other matters.

Sandwell Council recognises this and has set up the Sandwell Motorcyclists Forum. This group was invited to write the Sandwell Strategy for Powered Two Wheelers. The Forum have discussed their concerns and come forward with ways in which they can be addressed. These ideas were then presented to the Council. After some consultation and discussion Sandwell Council and Sandwell Motorcyclists Forum now have come forward with range of shared objectives that in partnership they will both now strive to achieve. This Strategy presents the riders' concerns often supported by empirical evidence and sets out ways in which the objectives can be achieved.


Sandwell Council recognises that powered two wheelers are a distinct class of road users. When making a journey by PTW the rider experiences a whole range of problems and difficulties not always apparent to car drivers. The Council is committed to addressing these issues to make PTW riders journey safer and easier.

Shared objectives.

  1. To take proper account of powered two wheelers whenever transportation and land use strategies, policies and proposals or major highway or public transport projects and the like are being produced.
  2. To reduce the number and severity of all accidents involving powered two wheelers.
  3. To reduce motorcycle crime in Sandwell.
  4. To provide powered two wheeler riders with an adequate supply of safe and secure parking.
  5. To address the traffic and highway engineering concerns of powered two wheeler riders.
  6. To respond to the concerns of powered two wheeler riders at road works.
  7. To encourage the production of a common sub regional policy on powered two wheelers in bus lanes.
  8. To raise awareness amongst all road users of the environmental and congestion consequences of their travel choices.
  9. To tackle social exclusion arising from poor accessibility and mobility.
  10. To take forward the issues raised and deliver action by maintaining partnership.

Part One.
Setting the scene.

3. Objective of the strategy.

This Strategy provides a clear way forward to cater for the special needs of powered two wheelers. It sets out the shared objectives of the Council and Sandwell Motorcyclists Forum and presents the issues that need to be addressed. It also indicates the probable way in which they will start to be tackled.

4. Background.

In February 1997 the Labour Party published 'Bike to Basics - Labour's Strategy for Motorcycles'. This document outlined the advantages a powered two wheeler can offer the user and their environmental benefits in comparison to the motor car. Reference was made to the fact that 'they are between twice and five times more fuel efficient than the motorcar producing half the carbon dioxide emissions and up to a third of the carbon monoxide emissions of unleaded vehicles' and that they can 'assist congestion by legally completing their journeys in half the time of other road users' (Bike to Basics -Labour's Strategy for Motorcyclists, Glenda Jackson MP, February 1997).

It was argued that the merits of PTWs have consistently been overlooked in the transport debate and gave a commitment to address this issue when in Government by putting 'motorcycling where it has always belonged firmly at the heart of the transport agenda'.

The Labour Party was elected to Government in May 1997. The consultation paper on 'Developing an integrated transport policy', published in August 1997, made it clear that the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions wished to explore whether there is scope for PTWs to contribute to the Government's wider transport objectives. In November 1997 it was announced at the opening of the International Motorcycle Show that a special consultative meeting would be convened to discuss the scope for PTWs in an integrated transport strategy (Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions Press Notice 260 11th November 1997). This meeting took place on 25th November 1997 involving all the major groups, with its outcome being described as 'one of the building blocks of the considerations on the integrated transport strategy'. The Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions also announced that new research had been commissioned to help gain a better understanding of the environmental and congestion benefits PTWs may have over cars (Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions Press Notice 283 25TH November 1997).

On July 16th 1996 Sandwell Council joined the TravelWise Travel Awareness Campaign, the objective of which is to raise public awareness of the damaging effect car use is having on the environment, public health and the economy. People are encouraged to consider travelling by bus, train, cycling and walking and to use their cars more sensibly. The document 'Transport Proposals in Sandwell 1997' set out the Council's Transport Philosophy as being to satisfy travel need in the 'most sustainable means available'.

It was recognised by the Council that PTWs had often been overlooked by transport planners. This is partly because highway authorities including Sandwell have not wished to adopt policies and practices that could encourage PTW use fearing a corresponding rise in accidents. It was realised that this gap in policy needed to be addressed, not least because they offer mobility to their user, are one of the most vulnerable modes of transport and there numbers are growing . Their future role in an integrated and sustainable transport strategy also needed to be determined.

It was against this background, the debate surrounding the environmental and congestion benefits of PTWs and 'Bike to Basics' that the document 'A Study of Motorcycle, Moped and Scooter Use in Sandwell'* was produced.

A questionnaire survey was undertaken to understand more fully PTW use in Sandwell. It found that the average rider in Sandwell is concerned about being involved in an accident and that this is a real danger not just a perceived one. Novice riders are particularly vulnerable. Riders were also concerned about having their bike stolen and having difficulty finding somewhere to park. The measures they suggested to overcome these, a PTW road safety campaign, secure parking and use of bus lanes are all issues Sandwell Council is able to investigate and address. The study concluded that the way forward was to prepare a 'Strategy for Powered Two Wheelers in Sandwell' and the study would provide a sound foundation for doing this. Appendix A provides a summary of its findings.

In July 1998 the Government published the White Paper 'A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone'. The main focus of the Paper is to 'increase personal choice by improving the alternatives and to secure mobility that is sustainable in the long term'. It requires Local Authorities to 'take account of the contribution some powered two wheelers can make in delivering integrated transport policies'. This wording was used again in the 'Guidance on Provisional Local Transport Plans' published in April 1999.

* Copies of A Study of Motorcycle, Moped and Scooter Use in Sandwell are available from Alan Tilly.

5. How the Strategy was written.

From the outset it was recognised that the best people to write a 'Strategy for Powered Two Wheelers in Sandwell' are Sandwell riders themselves. A report was tabled at the Council's Environment and Development Strategy Committee on 15th June 1998 recommending that the Sandwell Motorcyclists Forum was established. Sandwell Council in effect began doing what the Department of Transport and the Regions would later prescribe as set out in the document 'Guidance on Provisional Local Transport Plans' April 1999 'local users...know the problems better than anyone and need to have an input'.

Established contacts were invited to a preliminary meeting which took place on 6th July 1998. At this meeting the Council tabled its proposal that a 'Strategy for Powered Two Wheelers in Sandwell' should be written by Sandwell riders. The Strategy produced would then be offered to the Council as something it could consider adopting itself. The Council would provide the Forum with a meeting room and refreshments, secretarial services and whatever professional advice the Forum needed. The first meeting proper took place on 3rd August 1998 opened by Councillor Roger Horton, Chair of the Council's Environment and Development Strategy Committee, who in his address commented. "A person may choose to ride a motorcycle for no other reason than it's economical to run and gets them from A to B. However, our studies confirm that users run a real risk of being involved in an accident and often experience difficulty finding somewhere secure to park. Despite the fact that motorcycles provide mobility, Sandwell, like many other Councils, has no policy for motorcycles. To fill this gap we are inviting riders in Sandwell to produce a 'Strategy for Powered Two Wheelers in Sandwell".

Meetings then took place each month to discuss a different topic. Each month a guest speaker would attend to give expert advice on various topics. Speakers included Sandwell Council's Assistant Chief Engineer Highway Network Services, Youth Workers involved in a 'Wheels Project' which has a particular emphasis on powered two wheelers, Police Crime Prevention Officer, the Council's Group Planner Strategic and Local Planning, the Council's Group Leader Transportation, a Police Motorcyclist, the Council's Road Safety Officer, Paramedic Motorcyclists, and Trevor Magnor, the British Motorcyclists Federation Government Relations Executive and author of 'Powered Two Wheelers into the Twenty First Century'.

At each meeting the issues and concerns for riders were discussed and measures to overcome these were suggested. The Forum in effect wrote a 'shopping list' of the things they would like to see done to improve conditions for powered two wheeler use. The Strategy was written based upon the minutes of the Forum meetings.

By June 1999 the Forum had produced a draft Strategy that everyone agreed upon. The Forums Chairman then officially presented this to the Council for their comments with to it being considered for adoption as Council policy. The draft Strategy was then circulated internally amongst Councillor officers. Officers read through the document considering what parts of it the Council would be able to adopt. Their comments were then passed back to the Forum. The Forum then met again to discuss the points raised and reach consensus on their response. On October 4th 1999 the Forum met with Council officers to discuss each others views and agree a version acceptable to each other. This was achieved subject to a few further amendments.

6. Some things to bear in mind when reading this strategy.

A PTW may use more of their lane when negotiating a tight bend to help 'straighten' it out. It may therefore start to turn and bank before the bend begins. This turning motion may continue even once the bend has been passed.

If the skid resistance of a road surface is not uniform during braking or cornering the rear wheel may lose and then recover traction. The handle bars will then shake violently and the PTW will straighten up suddenly possibly throwing the rider off.

PTWs have only one headlight which provides considerably less illumination than the headlamps of a car. This is particularly the case with smaller bikes.

PTW riders are prone to being dazzled at night by the headlights of a vehicle following too closely behind. This is because the rear view mirrors are adjusted to provide a direct line of vision. The rider is less able to escape the glare than a car driver who can move his head slightly to one side.

PTW riders who are also car drivers notice that when they are riding their bike and keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front other car drivers are more likely to overtake them and jump into this space than when they are driving a car.

PTWs, more so than cars, need to manouevre to avoid debris on the road. This includes things as innocuous to a car driver as flattened drink cans or gravel washed down from a hillside after a heavy downpour.

Part Two.
Issues, action and shared objectives.

7. Powered Two Wheelers satisfy travel need.

Shared objective: To take proper account of powered two wheelers whenever transportation and land use strategies, policies and proposals or major highway or public transport projects and the like are being produced.


The 1991 population census found that PTWs account for 1.2 per cent of all journeys to work in Sandwell. This compares to 1.5 per cent for bicycles and 64.5 per cent as a car driver. 'A Study of Motorcycle, Moped and Scooter Use in Sandwell' provided details of PTW use and confirmed that they are used to satisfy travel needs.

Of those in employment, 91 per cent use their PTW to get to work. Eighty two per cent use their bikes for leisure time trips, such as visiting friends, 76 per cent for personal business, such as going to the bank. Seventy per cent sometimes use their bike purely for enjoyment. Sixty per cent use their bike to go shopping. Of those who attend College or University only 15 per cent of users will make this trip by powered two wheeler.

Nationally, there are indications that the proportion of trips made by PTWs will begin to rise. PTWs represented 4.7 per cent of all new vehicles sales in 1997. In 1998 PTW sales figures were up 29 per cent over 1997. Sales of commuter scooters rose by 86.4 per cent over the same period (Powered Two Wheelers The Smart Choice - Motorcycle Industry 1999). In December 1995 there were 1825 PTWs registered to people living in Sandwell representing a 0.6 per cent ownership rate (Transport Proposals in Sandwell 1997).

The way forward.

Some people are dependant upon PTWs to get about and their number is likely to rise. For this reason their needs should be taken into account when transportation and land use strategies, policies and proposals are being produced. These include the Local Transport Plan, Transport Proposals in Sandwell, the Unitary Development Plan and major highway and public transport schemes. The Sandwell Motorcyclists Forum should be recognised and used by the Council as the means for consulting PTW users.

8. Safety.

Shared objective: To reduce the number and severity of all accidents involving powered two wheelers.


Powered Two Wheelers are a vulnerable mode of transport. The death rate for a motorcyclist is 36 times higher than that for car users (Department of Environment Transport and the Regions News Release 960 12th November 1998). The number of accidents involving PTWs is gradually starting to fall. In 1987 the Government set targets to reduce road casualties by the year 2000. PTW casualty figures are showing dramatic improvements. Deaths are down by 49 per cent, slight injuries down by 60 per cent and serious injuries down 70 per cent. Overall the PTW casualty figure is down 63 per cent (Motorcycle Industry, Powered Two Wheelers the Smart Choice, 1999). However, over the same period motorcycle usage fell by 52 per cent. The recent blip in deaths and serious injuries has largely been attributable to leisure PTWs in rural areas (Local Transport Plans -the powered two wheeler option, motorcycle Action Group 1999). In Sandwell the number of casualties has fallen from 135 in 1989 to 71 in 1997 (West Midland Road Accident Review 1997, West Midlands Joint Data Team).

'A Study of Motorcycle, Moped and Scooter Use in Sandwell' found that just over half of all riders in the Borough have been involved in an accident at some stage, 54 per cent. Of all newer riders (those with less than three years experience) 35 per cent have been involved in an accident. The primary cause of these accidents is other road users, 57 per cent, a figure very close to the 61 per cent recorded in the Police Injury Accident Report Stats 19 Form. The second most common cause is the road surface itself, 35 per cent. This includes hazards created by fuel spillage, wet roads, wet leaves, pot holes, ice and debris left on the carriageway. These are also the likely causes for those accidents where the rider is recorded by the police as having lost control. Eight per cent of riders involved in an accident admitted it was their own fault.

A joint study by the Motorcycle Industry Association and the RAC concludes that in PTW accidents where car drivers are deemed to be at fault, the principal contributory factors were turning right injudiciously (failing to observe a motorcycle in their path or a motorcyclists right of way), not complying with traffic signs or road markings and failure to anticipate other traffic (Motorcycle Primary Safety - Executive Summary, Motorcycle Industry Association, RAC, November 1996).

Of those accidents judged to be the fault of the rider likely causes are failure to control the machine properly, failure to anticipate other traffic, incorrect overtaking, not complying with traffic signs and road markings, turning right injudiciously and failure to anticipate pedestrians. (Characteristics of urban motorcycle accidents, Institute of Motorcycling, July 1989).

Government figures suggest that once distance travelled by each mode is accounted for, PTWs are involved in a higher proportion of pedestrian casualties than those caused by cars. The reasons for this have not been fully established but it may be due to PTWs being less easy to see and are able to approach at a higher speed or that pedestrians are taking insufficient care before stepping into their path. Another theory is that PTWs are quieter nowadays.


To reduce the number of PTW accidents other road users need to be aware of how their own driving habits can be improved. . For example, how often if ever has a motorist been told not too follow to closely behind a PTW - especially in wet conditions? To be effective it needs to be national and sustained. Central Government is therefore best placed to run such a campaign. The Council will lobby Central Government and others operating in the field of road safety to run PTW awareness campaigns. Sandwell Motorcyclist Forum recognises that all road users including motorcycle riders must take responsibility for their own safety.

At a local level the Council recognises that PTWs are vulnerable road users and is committed to tackling this with the limited resources available. The Council will run a PTW safety campaign targeting other road users and riders themselves focussing on new riders and drivers. For example it could produce leaflets for pre-driver training schemes, driving schools, driving instructors and students on the West Midlands Driver Improvement Scheme. Motorists who commit a minor traffic offence can attend the West Midlands Driver Improvement Scheme as an alternative to prosecution if deemed eligible by the Police. Powered two wheelers will also receive a special mention by road safety officers working in schools to help tackle PTW accidents involving pedestrians. To ensure resources are being used effectively the Council will consult the Sandwell Motorcyclists Forum where appropriate.

There is a lively debate regarding the benefits of high visibility clothing and riding with headlights on in daylight. Some argue that in some situations it can make a rider less visible as it breaks up their silhouette. On balance however it is considered in Sandwell that high visibility clothing can help reduce the risk and severity of accidents. The Council will explore the role high visibility clothing can play in its own PTW road safety campaign. For example it may consider encouraging riders to wear it, subsidise fluorescent bibs for new riders, or coordinate a scheme where local business sponsor them. These bibs could also carry a message/slogan aimed at other road users to raise awareness. This idea could be extended to include pedal cyclists.

On some of the main routes into Sandwell are 'Welcome to Sandwell' signs. The Council could investigate the effectiveness of displaying 'Think Bike' signs or similar at strategic locations around the Borough. The objective of this is to remind motorists to be aware of PTWs and pedal cycles. These signs would also give a clear message that Sandwell is committed to being a pedal cycle and PTW friendly place.

The 'Think Bike' slogan could also be included where appropriate on Council literature particularly on those dealing with transport issues This would reinforce the PTW and pedal cycle awareness message and demonstrate the Councils commitment to safety for these modes.

NOTE: Training is key safe motorcycling. This Strategy recognises this and the subject will be addressed at future meetings of the Sandwell Motorcyclists Forum.

9. Theft.

Shared objective: To reduce motorcycle crime in Sandwell.


If you own a powered two wheeler you are three and a half times more likely to have it stolen than any other vehicle on the road. No wonder then that the average rider spends 10 per cent of the machine cost on security (Motorcycle Action Group Briefing Document 12: Security). On average 25,000 motorbikes are stolen each year, only about 14 per cent of these are recovered compared to a 60 per cent recovery rate for cars. (Motorcycle Industry, Powered Two Wheelers, The SMART Choice in Local Transport Plans, A Policy Resource Kit). Those never returned to their owner could be:-

A 'Study of Motorcycle, Moped and Scooter Use in Sandwell' found theft ranked third as riders main concern after 'other road users' and 'road surface'.

Actions and Policy.

Compared to other vehicles PTWs are relatively modest in size and weight and may have a high monetary value. This makes them attractive and easy targets for the opportunist thief who can wheel them away or bundled into a van in seconds. All machines are at risk. However the risk of theft can be reduced by making things as difficult as possible for the casual and professional thief. The Home Office campaign 'CRIME together we'll crack it' recommends riders take the precautions listed in Table One. These are all things that the Council and the Police amongst others can have an influence over. The below shows how the Council the Police, PTW riders, dealers, developers, and manufacturers can all take action to help reduce PTW crime.

TABLE ONE. Taking action against powered two wheeler theft.

During the day park in a busy public place. Locate PTW parking bays in conspicuous locations. The Council and Developers in consultation with the Police and Sandwell Motorcyclists Forum.
At night park in a well lit area. Locate PTW parking bays in well lit areas, provide additional lighting if necessary. The Council and Developers in consultation with the Police and Sandwell Motorcyclists Forum.
Try to vary the parking place. Provide PTW riders with an option of where to park. The Council.
Whenever possible use designated parking areas that have anchor points provided. Provide anchor points. The Council and Developers.
Use car parks that display the 'Secure Car Park' sign. Investigate and if appropriate adopt the 'Secure Car Park' initiative. The Council and Police.
Always engage the steering lock. All PTWs should have a steering lock and riders should be encouraged to use it. Manufacturers to include steering locks, Police to run a campaign aimed at PTW theft prevention.
Don't leave your crash helmet or other possessions attached to the motorcycle or in the pannier bags. Wherever possible PTW parking bays should have lockers for the storage of protective clothing etc The Council as a car park operator and through policies in its development plan.
Fit a motorcycle alarm. The riders responsibility. Police to run a sustained campaign aimed at PTW theft prevention.
Security mark as many parts of the motorcycle and accessories as possible with the Vehicle Identification Number, registration number or your postcode. The riders responsibility. Police to run a sustained campaign aimed at PTW theft prevention.
Buying a bike:-
What built in security features does it have? The riders/buyers responsibility to check. Police to run a sustained campaign aimed at PTW theft prevention.
Does it have an alarm, immobiliser and identification numbers? The riders/buyers responsibility to check. Police to run a sustained campaign aimed at PTW theft prevention.
If buying second hand:-
Have you seen the original registration document? The riders/buyers responsibility to check. Set up a 'bike watch scheme'. Police to set up a 'bike watch scheme' and run a sustained campaign aimed at PTW theft prevention.
Check if it's the sellers name on the document. The riders/buyers responsibility to check. Set up a 'bike watch scheme'. Police to set up a 'bike watch scheme' and run a sustained campaign aimed at PTW theft prevention.
Has the motorcycle frame or engine been tampered with? The riders/buyers responsibility to check. Set up a 'bike watch scheme'. Police to set up a 'bike watch scheme' and run a sustained campaign aimed at PTW theft prevention.
Does the frame or engine number match that on the registration document? The riders/buyers responsibility to check. Set up a 'bike watch scheme'. Police to set up a 'bike watch scheme' and run a sustained campaign aimed at PTW theft prevention.
Can the seller provide proof and identity of address? The riders/buyers responsibility to check. Set up a 'bike watch scheme'. Police to set up a 'bike watch scheme' and run a sustained campaign aimed at PTW theft prevention.

Design of parking bays.

To help achieve a reduction in PTW theft the Council will adhere to the following guidelines and encourage others to do the same. PTW parking bays should be provided in well lit places and where there are many passers-by providing 'casual surveillance'. This can help deter thieves as they risk being disturbed when trying to steal the bike. In car parks covered by Closed Circuit Television Cameras PTW parking bays should be covered by the cameras' range and angle of view. Anchor points should be provided to give the rider something secure to fix their bike to. These should be robust and be able to defeat attempts to lift them out of the ground or breach them with cutting tools. The anchor point should be compatible with a wide range of bike types and locking devices. A height of 60cm will accommodate a range of wheel sizes and hinder thieves from using the ground as leverage for bolt cutters and jacks. Anchor points should be located in positions that do not pose a hazard to partially sighted or disabled people. (A Guide to the Design and Provision of SECURE PARKING FOR MOTORCYCLES, 1996 Edition, Nich Brown.)

Many PTWs are stolen by being lifted into a van and then driven off. Good design can help minimise this type of theft by stopping vans etc from pulling up close to parking bays. Unless special measures are taken situations will inevitably arise when PTW parking spaces are used or blocked by other vehicles. Rails or bollards around the PTW parking area can help address both of these problems. Sufficient space should however be provided to allow the rider to manoeuver the bike into position.

Secure Car Park Schemes.

In order to achieve a reduction in PTW theft the Council will investigate the merits of the Secure Car Park Scheme. This initiative was set up by the police with the support of other interested groups. It encourages public and private car park operators to improve their security standards to reduce criminal activity and increase public confidence in the facilities provided. The scheme is not only geared at existing car parks but also at new car parks so that good design can be adopted from the outset.

The scheme works by car park operators requesting an inspection by a qualified Police Crime Prevention Officer to ensure standards conform with specific crime prevention criteria. Where standards fall short advice and encouragement is then given to these operators to achieve the level of security required.

Car parks with security standards which meet the criteria gain a prestigious award consisting of a plaque incorporating the 'Secure Car Parks' logo. They have the right to display this plaque on their premises. Two grades are available, gold and silver depending on the standard achieved.

The 'Secure Car Park' Scheme is being administered by the Automobile Association. They publish information about the location and grading of secure car parks and provide advice to the motoring public.

Locker facilities.

PTW riders wear helmets and often waterproofs/protective clothing. A helmet alone is expensive costing between £150 and £400. Upon arrival at their destination they need somewhere to store this gear. If they leave it on the bike secured as best they can it is still vulnerable to theft. Even if they carry it with them it may still be stolen if, for example, it is hidden under their desk at work or put down for a few seconds whilst in a shop. Secure lockers at parking bays can help solve this problem. The scope for having the cost of the lockers provided for by sponsorship will be looked into.

Dealers and manufacturers.

This Strategy highlights that it is not only the Council and the Police who have a responsibility to tackle PTW theft but also dealers and manufacturers. Anti theft measures need to be integrated into PTWs at the design stage. Dealers also have a role to play at the point of sale such as giving advice on security products. There is a market both in stolen bikes and parts. Occasionally there may be the odd dealer or breaker who are suspected of handling stolen bikes/parts or being relaxed in their attitude to this matter.

Powered two wheeler manufacturers and dealers can help tackle theft by fitting data tags as standard on all new models and providing disc locks or chains with all new machines.

Sandwell riders will debate bike security at club meetings etc and become familiar with PTWs that are sold with good security design. These comments will be exchanged between each other and even forwarded to dealers and manufacturers.

Riders responsibilities.

Some thieves actually target PTWs because they know some are easy to steal. Riders themselves can sometimes be guilty of not taking sufficient care to protect their machines from being stolen. This could be through ignorance of the problem or that they are unaware of what they can do to make the bike more secure. In some cases it may simply be due to carelessness. By raising awareness amongst riders themselves of PTW security the opportunity for stealing PTWs would fall leading to a corresponding fall in the number of PTW thieves operating. An ongoing Police Crime Prevention Campaign targeted at PTW riders will be suggested to remind riders that it is their responsibility not to leave a bike vulnerable to theft. All PTW parking bays will have a sign reminding riders to leave their bikes securely locked.

Bike Watch.

The issue of theft can be addressed in a number of ways. One example of good practice is the 'The Leicestershire and Rutland Motorcycle Watch' scheme. This is a partnership approach to the problems of PTW theft involving Leicestershire Police Motorcycle Dealers, Training Centres, Clubs and Pubs. The objectives of the scheme are:-

A dedicated confidential and free telephone number has been set up and is publicised for people to pass on information about PTW thieves. 'Motorcycle Watch' has a list of participants who receive regular up-to-date information about recent PTW crimes. Participants are helping the police to help themselves by providing more 'eyes and ears' to gather information. Sandwell's own Bike Watch scheme will be developed.

Working with young people and adults.

It is estimated that 70 per cent of PTW theft is of smaller machines by young people. These machines are often used only for joy riding on open space, and especially in Sandwell, along canal towpaths. As well as being a crime in itself joy riding is a nuisance to local residents. Often a stolen PTW will change hands many times making it almost impossible for the police to trace its history and prove it is stolen. Without firm evidence that it is stolen they are unable to take the bike from the rider.

There can be no better way of addressing PTW crime than by stopping it happening in the first place. It is one of the objectives of the Tipton Wheels Project set up in 1991 to reduce vehicle crime arising from young people being bored and having nothing to do. The project has 2 full time staff and 3 to 4 volunteers. When it first started between 10 to 20 youths per night would attend and spend their time working on cars, motorbikes and push bikes. About 400 young people, both male and female have since passed through the scheme.

The benefits of the project to PTW users are two-fold. It helps to reduce bike and car theft by young people and the riding experience they gain helps them to go on to become better and safer motorcyclists and car drivers. The project is now looking at setting up other projects across Sandwell and has the full support of the Council and Sandwell riders.

10. Parking.

Shared objective: To provide powered two wheeler riders with an adequate supply of safe and secure to park.


Powered two wheelers are no different to cars in that they need somewhere to park once they have arrived at their destination. Motorcyclists consider that they are not catered for in this respect - there is an inadequate supply of dedicated and secure parking spaces. It is in the interests of the Council and local businesses to provide quality parking for PTWs in Sandwell's town centres. Powered two wheeler riders are also shoppers and the availability of parking influences where they choose to spend their money.

National Campaigns such as 'are you doing your bit?' and TravelWise are encouraging the public to travel by more sustainable modes of transport including bus and rail. To enable the motorist to travel by these modes park and ride car parks are built at railway stations and sometimes on the edge of town centres. If PTW users are also to be encouraged to travel by bus or train these park and ride sites must also include quality PTW parking. The White Paper 'A New Deal For Transport: Better For Everyone - DETR 1998' states that local authorities should address PTW parking in their Local Transport Plans. It requires that Councils should 'consider specific measures to assist motorcyclists such as secure parking at public transport interchange sites'.

Actions and Policy.

The Council will increase the supply of PTW parking to meet demand by adopting parking standards. Developers will be required to provide parking for powered two wheelers, the number of spaces needed would depend on the size and type of the development. The amount of PTW parking will be equal to 5 per cent of the number of publicly accessible car spaces normally provided. Powered two wheelers spaces are in addition to those required for pedal cycles.

As already mentioned riders need somewhere to store their helmets and protective clothing upon arrival at their destination. In some circumstances lockers should be provided. The provision of lockers shall be an integral part of new developments and a condition of planning approval. Alternatively secure PTW parking with lockers could be funded by sponsorship, an obvious example is local PTW dealers.

When PTW parking is provided it should be properly designed so that riders have the confidence to use it. If there is a risk of theft it will not be used, riders will park instead at safer locations not originally intended for PTWs. Some rider chose to travel by PTW because they value the accessibility they afford. To ensure PTW parking is used it should be located as near as possible to the riders final destination.

The Council will promote good PTW parking design. The site chosen for PTW parking should not be prone to flooding, falling tree sap, bird droppings. They should not be placed over drain gratings where if dropped keys would be lost. Some PTWs can be quite heavy and they need a good level surface to be parked upon. Poor quality black top that becomes soft in hot weather is unsuitable and the bike stand will sink into the surface and the bike will eventually topple over. The size of off-street PTW parking bays is crucial to good design. They should all have bollards to prevent cars from parking or obstructing them and have anchor points. Whenever on-street parking bays are provided it will be located in positions where the rider can park, dismount and secure the bike without road safety being compromised.

To ensure that riders will use the parking facilities provided they will need to be directed to it by road signs. The parking also needs to be signed again in the car park not only so that the rider can find it but also to let motorists know it is for PTW use only. These signs should also carry a reminder for the rider to leave their powered two wheeler securely parked. 'Lock it or lose it' is a good message. The cost of these could be meet through sponsorship.

Powered two wheeler users have no objection to paying a reasonable charge for secure parking with facilities such as lockers for the storage of protective gear. The revenue generated could be used for their up keep. However PTWs will be exempt from parking charges where no special measures have been taken to properly accommodate them. For the same reasons PTWs should also be excluded from road pricing in whatever form. This is justifiable on policy grounds since PTWs have congestion benefits over the driver only car.

In streets where residents parking schemes are in operation PTWs will be exempt.

11. Road surface and highway design.

Shared objective: To address the traffic and highway engineering concerns of powered two wheeler riders.


Road surface.

Powered two wheelers are often highly sensitive to imperfections in the riding surface which may not affect cars. 'A Study of Motorcycle, Moped and Scooter Use in Sandwell' found that 'road surface' ranked second as motorcyclists main concern. Many PTW accidents are attributable to road surface problems such as fuel spillage, pot holes, wet roads, ice, slippery inspection chamber covers , wet leaves and debris on the carriageway.

Fuel spillage leaves the road treacherously slippy. It can be caused by drivers not properly securing their fuel caps or overfilling their tanks. Poorly maintained or badly designed tanks can also be a cause. Often a trail of diesel can be followed though finding its source is almost impossible, though in some cases vehicles can be followed and seen to be spilling fuel. Sometimes there is spilt fuel on the highway outside lorry/bus depots etc. Similarly there is often mud on the road in the vicinity of building sites. In both of these cases the cause of the problem is more obvious.

Roads need to be regularly swept to remove patches of grit etc. Often this accumulates in the centre of road junctions. Road sweepers should also take care not to create patches of grit over time by always missing the same part of the road. The salt put on roads in winter can create the same problem though obviously this is better than ice. When roads are gritted care should be taken to spread the salt evenly.

Water leaking onto the highway can be a serious problem particularly in the winter when it may freeze and turn to ice. The responsibility for remedying this problem may in some cases be with the Water Authority.

A PTW rider needs to keep constantly checking the road surface ahead to be aware of potential problems. The poorer the quality of the surface the more this needs to be done, the rider is momentarily taking his eyes off the road. With better road surfaces drivers of all classes of vehicles would be able to give more attention to other hazards.


The single most likely site of a collision involving a PTW is at, or near, an urban road junction. Viability, complexity and approach speeds are all significant. Roundabouts and other priority controlled junctions are more hazardous for PTWs than signal controlled junctions. Lane markings and widths are significant especially at entrances and exits (Motorcycle Industry, Powered Two Wheelers, The SMART Choice in Local Transport Plans, A Policy Resource Kit).

Lane widths.

Although most PTWs are able to maintain general traffic speeds in most situations mopeds are designed not to exceed 30 mph. Heavy traffic flows and high proportions of HGVs presents a hazard for all types of PTW. Attention to nearside lane width is important to ensure safe passing of and passing by PTWs. Other considerations in nearside lane width are stationary vehicles, car doors opening and left turning vehicles.

Reporting problems.

It is the Council's absolute responsibility to keep roads safe. Every six months all roads are inspected by being walked. The target is to repair any defects within 24 hours, in 85 to 95% of cases this is met. Street lights are patrolled every fortnight. The Council relies upon the general public to inform them of any problems, though in many cases these go unreported. The Council has telephone lines to report problems though awareness of these numbers amongst PTW riders is poor. Similarly the telephone numbers for the Highways Agency are also not commonly known or perceived as difficult to obtain.


After road works the carriageway should be reinstated to the highest standard. When services have been laid or dug up often it is repaired leaving a patch of sunken/uneven blacktop. Those at the Highway Authority responsible for checking the quality of reinstatement should make it clear from the outset that the standards expected will not be compromised.


The AA also found that motorcyclists are over represented in accidents at traffic islands. Large roundabouts such as Birchley Island in Sandwell often have high entry speeds and more than two lane approaches. The circulatory carriageway is wide which permits the traffic to travel relatively fast around the island. Circulating PTWs are often struck by vehicles that fail to give way on entering the roundabout (What goes wrong in highway design, AA Policy Group, February 1999).

Inspection chambers.

There are 28,000 inspection chamber covers in Sandwell. These are sometimes made of smooth metal which offers comparatively little skid resistance especially in wet and icy conditions. The danger they pose is not helped when they are positioned in the centre of the carriageway especially if this is on a bend, or a roundabout's circulatory carriageway/exit. They may force riders into a hazardous line in order to avoid them possibly resulting in loss of control or collision. The blacktop surrounding manholes is prone to breaking up resulting in a pot hole.

White lines.

White lines in the road are often repainted many times making them stand proud of the road surface. This causes PTW riders problems because the carriageway is uneven and can steer the rider out of line. This matter is made worse as some white lines are smooth and offer little skid resistance particularly when wet.

Street furniture.

Road side furniture, such as lamp posts, road signs or bus stops etc close to the carriageway can cause a rider further injury if they have an accident. A rider wearing protective clothing that has an accident resulting in them sliding on the highway is more likely to be seriously injured if they hit an object than if they gradually slide to a halt. It is out of the question to remove every single obstacle but it is possible to limit their number, protect them and avoid dangerous locations such as the outside of bends or the apex of junctions.


Overbanding refers to the use of bitumen to seal joints in the road surface, often following road works. Bitumen causes PTW riders considerable problems particularly in wet conditions when its skid resistance is much lower than that of the surrounding black top. Sandwell Council does not use overbanding for these reasons. It is also considered to be expensive and can shine in the street lights if wet possibly appearing to a road user as a white line.

Surface dressings.

Given that skidding is a major hazard to PTW riders the problems caused by tar and surface dressing when the traffic itself is relied upon to complete the rolling process should be recognised. Loose chippings can build up on centre lines and apexes making cornering and overtaking unnecessarily hazardous.

Traffic calming.

There are now many roads in Sandwell which have been traffic calmed. Generally traffic calmed roads can cause difficulties for PTW riders if the calming measures are poorly positioned, unlit and not well sign posted. Table Two presents the different types of traffic calming measures, the problems they cause PTWs and measures that PTW riders suggest would improve their design.

TABLE TWO:- Traffic calming measures, issues and good design.

Traffic calming measure Issues for powered two wheelers Good design
Speed control humps If a rider is unaware that a speed control hump is about to be ridden over and it is negotiated too quickly the rider may be unseated or destabilised and lose control. The rider may not see it coming because:-
  • it is poorly lit at night or in fog
  • it is not sign posted
  • it is covered in snow
  • the painted markings have worn away
  • it is located on or in the vicinity of a bend
  • if there is not sufficient ground clearance, the bottom of the bike or its exhaust may hit the ground damaging the bike and possibly causing a loss of control.
  • each hump should be clearly sign posted
  • each hump should be well lit at night and in fog
  • snow should be cleared away
  • painted markings should be skid resistant and repainted as soon as worn
  • they should only be located on straight stretches of road
20 mph speed limit zones    
Rumble devices - features with a vibratory and audible effect Less noticeable on a PTW than in a car. Locate them on straight stretches of highway only
Pinch points - where the carriageway is narrowed to a single lane with priority in one direction Often road users do not give way to the other vehicle even though it has priority. PTW riders notice that they are more likely to be the subject of this practice when they are riding a PTW as opposed to travelling in a car. The gateway should be well lit and clearly signed to show which lane has priority. These controls should be enforced.
Gateways - to indicate the presence of traffic calming in the highway Gateways give a clear indication to road users that traffic calming is being approached or just left. They should be properly lit. Properly lit gateways are an example of good design.
Speed cushions - a form of road hump that allows large vehicles to straddle eg emergency service vehicles To avoid the jolt of the cushion PTW riders often choose to pass on the inside where rubbish inevitably accumulates. This can lead to loss of control or damage to the bike. Regular street cleaning. Speed cushions with a narrow lane on the inside for PTW and pedal cycles to use is good design.
Horizontal deflections - including pinch points, build outs and chicanes. Smaller PTWs tend to be ridden closer to the kerb. If the rider is unaware that he is approaching a horizontal deflection it may be hit resulting in accident and injury. Other PTWs are however often able to negotiate this type of calming keeping a relatively straight line. They are however vulnerable to traffic passing in the other direction swerving out to avoid build outs etc and then encroaching into the opposite lane and the path of an on coming PTW. Adequate sign posting and lighting to warn motorists of build outs etc. These measures work best when they are incorporated into a new road at the design stage. The line traffic has to take is then more obvious to all road users. For example street lights will follow the route of the road.
Raised rib markings - continuous line markings with ribs across the line at regular intervals, commonly found between the inside lane and hard shoulder on motorways Less noticeable riding a PTW than in a car.  
Traffic islands for speed control - including mini roundabouts These are often ignored by many motorists  
Speed tables - greater than the length of a car The same comments apply for speed tables as does for speed humps. Speed tables built of block paving cause additional problems as they offer little skid resistance particularly when wet or covered in spilt diesel. Those located at traffic junctions are particularly prone to diesel spillage. The blocks themselves can sometimes become loose. All of these factors can lead to loss of control. Comments as speed control humps plus avoid using smooth bricks that offer poor skid resistance, ensure that surface water will drain away.

Actions and Policy.

The procedures for reporting problems on the highway will be reviewed and improved. This will begin by raising awareness of all the relevant telephone numbers for reporting problems. The idea of producing a credit card containing all this information will be looked into. The cost of producing this card could be covered by advertising on one side perhaps by a local PTW dealer. Posters could be printed giving details of these telephone numbers and displayed in libraries and PTW shops etc.

Postage paid postcards for road users for them to note down problems on the highway such as pot holes, broken street lights, and spilt water etc will be considered. These would then be posted to the Council making them aware of problems so that action can be taken.

The mechanism for reporting sites and vehicles guilty of leaving fuel or mud on the highway will be reviewed. The target will be to address and remedy problems within 24 hours.

The position of inspection chambers is constrained by the location of the services beneath the road to which they provide access. However, when new roads are being built inspection chambers carefully positioned away from the centre of the road and not on a bend will be encouraged. Those existing inspection chamber covers offering poor skid resistance will be identified and have their skid resistance brought up to an appropriate standard. It is good practice to avoid differentials in skid resistance particularly on bends, at roundabout approaches, circulatory carriageways and roundabout exits.

Careful consideration will be given to the location of street furniture. When alternatives exist it will not be sited in positions where it is likely to be hit by any road user who for what ever reason loses control of their vehicle.

All traffic calming measures will be well sign posted and lit at nights. Speed humps should not be located in the vicinity of junctions, on bends or the approaches to them. The preferred type of speed bump is a speed cushion that gives powered two wheelers the opportunity to pass to the side of it. Overall though, horizontal deflections such as chicanes, build outs and road narrowing are considered the safest way to calm the speeds of all road users without causing hazards to powered two wheelers.

When white lines are being repainted care should be taken to ensure that the build up of layers of paint does not result in the line causing the road surface to be uneven. Use those types of white lining that give greatest skid resistance.

After road works the Council will exercise its powers to ensure that the reinstatement is satisfactory.

12. Road Works.

Shared objective: To respond to the special needs of powered two wheeler riders at road works.


Road works often result in an uneven road surface which in turn creates problems for powered two wheeler riders. Cold planing is particularly hazardous as the tracks formed can actually steer a PTW and is then difficult to get out of. Road works must be properly sign posted and well lit at night. Often a road is sign posted 'temporary surface' and then left for a number of weeks. There should be strictly enforced time limits on how long a length of road can remain as a 'temporary surface'. Cast steel plating that provides a ramp for vehicles at the entrances and exits to road works can be treacherously slippy and especially dangerous if the rider is not properly forewarned and then hits it speed.

Temporary traffic lights often involve laying a power cable across the carriageway. When this is not covered and not secured it effectively acts like a roller and can cause a PTWs front wheel to slide. This problem is made worse when it is on a bend, its entry/exit or when it is running across the road at an angle.

Traffic signs and cones at road works are often blown over by wind or by passing vehicles, hit by traffic or deliberately knocked over by vandals. In some cases they may become an obstruction on the highway causing PTWs and others to swerve. If thy are hit by a PTW the rider may lose control and possibly crash.

At road works there is usually machinery such as diggers, skips and generators etc. These are sometimes left parked against the kerb at night. If they are left unmarked they may be hit by another road user or cause a vehicle to swerve. In either of these cases an accident may be caused.


All road works including the contractors plant will be properly lit and accurately signed to warn road users that they are being approached. Road signs will be checked regularly to make sure all the warnings remain in place. Power cables running across the road must be laid so that they take the most direct route across the carriageway at a right angle. The cable should then be either fixed or covered with casing to keep it in place.

Where the use of ramps is necessary at the entrance or exit of road works they should be made of materials that offer the maximum amount of skid resistance.

13. Powered Two Wheelers in bus lanes.

Shared objective: To encourage the production of a common sub regional policy on powered two wheelers in bus lanes.


A bus lane is a length of road allocated use by buses only. They are usually on busy roads and are created to allow buses to avoid the worst effects of traffic congestion. There benefits are quicker journey times and more reliable services. There are currently only short sections of bus and cycle highway in Sandwell though proper bus lanes will be included in the Walsall to Blackheath Showcase Route 404 currently under design.


The commonly cited benefits of allowing powered two wheelers to use bus lanes are that:-


Others however object on the grounds that:-

The issue of PTWs in bus lanes was discussed at a meeting of 'Cycling in Sandwell' 24th September 1997. The meeting agreed that the 'shared use of bus/cycle lanes with PTWs was generally considered to be acceptable'. Powered two wheelers have been allowed to use bus lanes in Bristol since 12th June 1995 initially under an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order made by Avon County Council. A video study was undertaken which revealed that the majority of motorcyclists used bus lanes in preference to general traffic lanes. The study did not however produce any valid quantitative conclusion regarding safety (Transport Research Laboratory, Project Report PR/TT/19296 Motorcycle use of bus lanes in Bristol: A video survey, RJ Balcombe, November 1996).

The Department of Transport, Environment and the Regions considers that there are still some unanswered questions about the impact of allowing powered two wheelers in bus lanes. It would in fact 'welcome proposals from local authorities interested in conducting properly monitored pilot studies of the use of bus lanes by powered two wheelers to help inform decisions on whether there is a case for motorcycles to be allowed to use bus lanes' (Guidance on Provisional Transport Plans April 1999 Department of Transport, Environment and the Regions).


Whatever the view on PTWs in bus lanes it makes no sense to have a situation where neighbouring authorities operate a different policy. The situation could then arise where a rider is allowed to use a bus lane in one Borough but has to leave when the Borough boundary is crossed. To avoid this situation in the West Midlands, Sandwell Council will encourage a debate to agree a common sub regional policy.

14. Powered two wheelers as an alternative to the car.

Shared objectives: To raise awareness amongst powered two wheeler riders of the environmental and congestion consequences of their travel choices.


Road traffic growth.

Car traffic increased ten fold between 1952 and 1992. Recent Government forecasts suggest that in 20 years' time traffic levels will be between 36% and 57% higher than now, unless we change our policies and travel habits (Developing an integrated Transport policy - an invitation to contribute DETR August 1997). This growth is having a damaging effect upon the environment, public health and the economy. For instance:-

Britain's roads are being used more than ever before. The total number of vehicle kilometres driven in the West Midlands increased by 13 per cent between 1987 and 1997 (West Midlands Transport Package 1998). This road traffic growth is having a damaging effect on the environment, the economy and public health. Sandwell Council has responded to this problem by adopting transport policies that encourage and enable travel by means other than by car.

There is no single solution to the problem of road traffic growth. Public transport, walking and cycling all have a contribution to make but they are not able to satisfy travel need in every situation. Powered two wheelers have significant congestion benefits and in some cases environmental benefits over the car whilst offering the same door to door convenience. The Government's Department of Transport, Environment and the Regions in the document 'Guidance on Provisional Local Transport Plans' takes the same view highlighting that 'mopeds and small motorcycles may produce benefits if they substitute car use, but not if people switch from walking, cycling or public transport'.

Road space.

Whilst a PTW correctly positioned takes up that same amount of road space as a car in free flowing traffic they are able double up in traffic lanes when queuing at traffic lights for example. Furthermore when traffic speeds fall to a crawl in congested conditions a PTW can filter through it. In the event of a break down a PTW can usually be moved by the rider out of the traffic flow causing minimal delay to other road users. In a parking space designed for a car up to five PTWs can be parked. A modal shift away from the car would therefore reduce the demand for parking land. Because PTWs can be parked more easily than cars, a shift from car to PTWs would mean fewer cars cruising in town centres looking for somewhere to park.

It is recognised that a solo PTW can carry at maximum only one passenger compared to three in car. However it should also be recognised that the 1992 European Commission Green Paper on the impact of Transport on the Environment cited average vehicle occupancy rates as 1 to 1.2 persons during peak travelling times in European cities.

Road damage.

Because of their light weight and low axle loadings powered two wheelers are responsible for minimal road damage. Accommodating PTWs would require few changes to the current road infrastructure.

Time savings.

The European Commissions Motor Vehicle Emissions Group reported in 1992 that PTWs could undertake urban journeys 16 to 46 per cent quicker than cars.


Generally PTWs have lower fuel consumption and hence lower carbon dioxide emissions (the 'greenhouse gas') than driver only cars but on a per passenger basis the benefits are less clear cut. PTWs generally emit more hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide per kilometre travelled than petrol cars equipped with catalytic converters but broadly similar amounts of nitrogen oxides and particulates - the pollutants of most concern in urban areas (Motorcycles, DETR, RSVD October 1997). Mopeds and lower powered 2-stroke PTWs are more fuel efficient and emit slightly less nitrogen oxide than a petrol car with a catalytic converter. However, they emit rather more particulates due to the addition of lubricating oil to the fuel. Ninety per cent of PTWs can run on unleaded petrol (British Motorcyclists Federation, Motor cycle Use - The road to reduced pollution & congestion).

A PTW's ability to filter through stationary traffic means that they are forced to remain stationary with the engine idling - consuming fuel and producing emissions, less often than a car. It also takes far fewer resources to make a PTW compared to a car. Once a PTW has reached the end of its useful life 75 per cent of components can be reused on other machines, the remaining 25 per cent can be recycled (Motorcycle Industry, Powered Two Wheelers the Smart Choice, 1999). At most only 3 per cent of an end of life PTW ends up as valueless shredding residue (British Motorcyclists Federation, Motor cycle Use - The road to reduced pollution & congestion).

TABLE THREE: Emission Factors by Vehicle Type.

Mode Carbon Monoxide Nitrogen Oxides Hydro-carbons Particluates Lead Sulphur Oxides Carbon Dioxide
Diesel car 1.30 0.70 0.40 0.54 - 0.38 119.00
Taxi 2.00 1.60 0.40 0.25 - 0.43 224.00
Catalytic converter car 5.30 0.40 0.50 0.00 - 0.06 224.00
Motorcycle 9.20 1.00 1.10 0.04 0.00 0.06 237.00
LGV 16.80 2.30 2.10 0.12 0.00 0.27 243.00
Other vehicle 16.80 2.30 2.10 0.12 0.00 0.27 275.00
Big bus 17.00 16.50 5.30 1.40 - 1.32 325.00
Average GV 17.30 5.20 2.60 0.45 0.00 0.52 325.00
Average bus 17.50 14.60 4.70 1.30 - 1.22 330.00
HGV 18.30 11.00 3.60 1.12 - 1.03 474.00
Average car 18.50 2.00 2.20 0.07 0.00 0.11 670.00
Midi bus 18.80 8.70 2.80 1.00 - 0.91 780.00
Leaded car 31.30 3.30 3.70 0.00 0.01 0.08 944.00
Unleaded car 31.30 3.30 3.70 0.00 - 0.09 1035.00

Source: Bus emissions and air pollution in London, London Transport Buses.

Table Three above sets out London Transport Buses estimate of the emissions of different types of vehicle in London traffic conditions. The information has been sorted by column in descending order first by carbon monoxide followed by nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, particulates, and then lead.


The 1998 Transport White Paper reaffirmed the importance of cycling and endorsed the targets and aspirations outlined in the National Cycling Strategy of doubling the number of cycling trips by 2002 (on 1996 figures) and then doubling again by 2012. It is the aim of the Government's Transport Policy to widen travel choice by providing real alternatives to car use. Powered two wheelers are a genuine alternative and satisfy the riders travel needs. Powered two wheelers have historically been overlooked because of their safety record. Transport planners have been reluctant to provide facilities that would properly cater for PTWs fearing a rise in PTW use and a corresponding rise in accidents. However the difference in the safety records of cycling and PTWs is not as great as the policy difference between them might suggest ie actively encouraging cycling but not PTWs. Table four and five shows the difference between motorcyclists accidents and pedal cyclists accidents in 1997. The total number of accidents is very similar though the severity of PTW casualties is worse. It is worth taking into account research by the Transport Research Laboratory which found that only 27 per cent of pedal cyclists casualties tend to be reported. Taking this into account the difference in the safety record between the two modes is not as great as the table suggests.

TABLE FOUR Pedal cycle casualties

Severity of casualty 1997 Percentage change
over 1996
Percentage change
over 1981-85 baseline
Killed 183 -10 -41
Seriously injured 3,405 -5 -40
Slightly injured 20,997 1 -6
All casualties 24,585 - -13
Pedal cycle traffic (billion vehicle Kilometres) 4.0 -6 -34

Source: Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions Press Notice 459 11th June 1998

TABLE FIVE Motorcycle casualties

Severity of casualty 1997 Percentage change
over 1996
Percentage change
over 1981-85 baseline
Killed 509 16 -49
Seriously injured 5,934 3 -70
Slightly injured 17,977 7 -60
All casualties 24,240 6 -63
Motorcycle traffic (billion vehicle Kilometres) 4.0 -5 -52

Source: Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions Press Notice 459 11th June 1998

15. Powered Two Wheelers are an affordable mode of transport.

Shared objective: To tackle social exclusion arising from poor accessibility and mobility.


The Index of Local Deprivation 1998 ranked Sandwell as the seventh most deprived Borough in England. The 1991 population Census found that 45 per cent of households in Sandwell do not have a car. These residents do not therefore enjoy the same mobility and access to facilities as car owners and if their travel needs are not adequately satisfied they are disadvantaged.

It is clearly stated in the 'Guidance on Provisional Local Transport Plans' that the Government transport policy is all about 'widening travel choices'. It recognises that 'those who do not have access to a car have suffered as the car has become increasingly necessary to enjoy a full range of goods and services'.

A moped costs on average 12 per cent of the price of a small car. Vehicle excise duty (VED) for small PTWs is nearly 14 per cent of the cost of VED for the new lower taxation band for small cars. The VED for the largest PTW is still 66 per cent cheaper than the cheapest rate for cars (Motorcycle Industry, Powered Two Wheelers, The SMART Choice in Local Transport Plans, A Policy Resource Kit)

As Table Six shows PTW fuel consumption is far less than that for a car making them cheaper to run. 'A Study of Motorcycle, Moped and Scooter Use in Sandwell' found that being economical to run was cited by 15 per cent of riders as a reason to use their PTW to get to work.

TABLE SIX Fuel economy

Vehicle Fuel Consumption
2-stroke 500cc Scooter (auto) 90.6 mpg
4-stroke 125cc Motorcycle 118.12 mpg
4 - stroke 125cc Scooter (auto) 113 mpg
4 - stroke 250cc Scooter (auto) 76 mpg
500cc Twin cylinder motorcycle 76 mpg
1,300cc Saloon Car 31.6 mpg (urban trips)
2,000cc Saloon Car 21.5 mpg (urban trips)

Source: Motorcycle Industry, Powered Two Wheelers the Smart Choice, 1999.


The Council recognised that PTWs can provide economical, practical and flexible transport for those that cannot afford to run a car. PTWs can widen employment opportunities and have a role to play in reducing social exclusion.

16. Implementation, monitoring and review.

Shared objective. To take forward the issues raised and deliver action response by maintaining partnership.


If the objective of the strategy is to be satisfied the policies adopted by Sandwell Council need to be implemented.


Supported by the Council the Sandwell Motorcyclists Forum will continue to meet every three months. These meetings will be convened to help ensure the objectives of the Strategy are being achieved. It will also highlight gaps in policy and areas in which existing policies need to be strengthened. These meetings will give riders a chance to raise issues of concern with Council officers and vice versa. At this stage it is intended to revise this Strategy in 2004. However this date will remain flexible depending on the Strategy' performance.

17. What other Councils are doing.

City of Stoke-on-Trent

City of Stoke-on-Trent published the document 'Motorcycling in Stoke-on-Trent Survey Results and Report' March 1999. This study was designed to obtain more information about motorcycling in Stoke-on-Trent. The impetus for it was the need to reduce car dependancy recognising that motorcycling is 'increasingly being seen as a solution to the congestion and traffic jams experienced in cities '.

City of Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council.

The Stoke/Newcastle Package prepared by City of Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council has a section titled 'Motorcycles'. This transport policy document makes it clear that the partners consider that PTWs can contribute towards easing traffic congestion. It recognised that they use less road space, have good fuel economy and relatively low pollution. It decided that 'the use of two wheeled motor vehicles on the highway network will be encouraged in the Package Area'. This will be achieved through the TravelWise Campaign and by:-

Kingston upon Hull City Council.

Kingston upon Hull City Council have produced a leaflet titled 'Motorcycle Parking in Hull'. This includes a map showing the location of secure motorcycle parking on street and details of which car parks permit motorcycle parking. The leaflet also lists five reasons why people should use a motorcycle under the headings 'pollution', 'congestion', 'it's quicker', 'it's secure' and 'it's fun'.

Bristol, Birmingham, Hull and Reading.

The Councils in each of the above towns allow PTWs to use bus lanes (Local Transport Plans -the powered two wheeler option, Motorcycle Action Group 1999).

Walsall M.B.C.

A 'Bikers Breakfast' was organised for cyclists and PTW riders as part of a campaign to discourage people from taking their cars to work.

18. Acknowledgements.

The Sandwell Motorcyclists Forum is grateful to all those who have attended meetings as guest speakers including,

Peter Whitehouse, Assistant Chief Engineer Highway Network Services, Sandwell M.B.C.
Mark Stephen, Tipton Wheels Project.
Mick Kyte, Crime Prevention Officer, West Midlands Police, West Bromwich.
Dave Wood, Group Planner Strategic and Local Planning, Sandwell M.B.C.
John Hawkins, Transportation Planning Group Leader, Sandwell M.B.C.
Geoff Fulwood, West Midlands Police.
Dave Horden, Principal Road Safety Officer, Sandwell M.B.C.
Steve Harris, West Midlands Ambulance Service, West Bromwich Station.
Dave Painter, West Midlands Ambulance Service, West Bromwich Station.
Mark Ricard, Road Safety, Walsall M.B.C.
Graeme Roberts, Road Safety Engineer, Wolverhampton M.B.C.
Trevor Magner, Government Relations Executive, British Motorcyclists Federation.
Henry Marks, Motorcycle Action Group.

19. Appendix A. A Study of Motorcycle, Moped and Scooter Use in Sandwell.

Summary of the results.