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UK motorcycle industry and riders launch ‘A Licence to Net Zero’ to improve access to mopeds, motorcycles and other L-Category vehicles

191 days ago

5 minutes

Motorcycle industry and riders launch ‘A Licence to Net Zero’ to improve access to mopeds, motorcycles and other L-Category vehicles. Proposals include calls for earlier access to L-Category vehicles, including creating two new vehicle categories – the electric light moped and the e-step scooter.

The UK body, the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) has launched ‘A Licence to Net Zero – Unleashing our Potential, Licence Reform Essential’, MCIA’s latest campaign to make the process for attaining a moped, motorcycle or other L-Category vehicle licence less complex, less costly, and more accessible for a broader section of society in the United Kingdom.

Supported by rider representative group, the National Motorcyclists Council (NMC), and Zemo Partnership, the launch represents a significant step forward in the delivery of the joint industry and Government Action Plan for L-Category vehicles, launched in February 2022.

You can watch MCIA’s animation introducing the campaign here.

You can read MCIA’s proposals underpinning the campaign here.

L-Category vehicles, or powered light vehicles (PLVs), include mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles, which include micro cars. They offer affordable and versatile solutions to contemporary transportation challenges, including reducing emissions and congestion and provide affordable and accessible modes of transport – moving people and goods to and from work and/or college in urban, sub-urban and rural areas – for private individuals and businesses alike.

The moped and motorcycle industry’s role in reducing emissions, lowering congestion and using road space more efficiently was recognised for the first time in the UK Government’s 2021 Transport Decarbonisation Plan, which tasked MCIA and Zemo Partnership to produce a joint industry and Government Action Plan for the sector. 

MCIA and Zemo’s landmark Action Plan: Realising the Full Potential of Zero Emission Powered Light Vehicles, underscored a commitment to a greener future. The Action Plan identifies the barriers the sector must overcome and the opportunities it must harness, together with the Government, if its full potential is to be realised and, in turn, accessed by the broadest possible section of society.

Improving access to the sector is therefore essential to this transformation. ‘A Licence to Net Zero’ has been deliberately conceived to align with action six in the joint Action Plan, which calls on the Government to conduct a full-scale review of the existing L-Category licensing regime.

Now the UK has left the EU, MCIA believes it’s time to revamp moped and motorcycle licensing. They state that the current process is burdensome, intimidating and expensive, hindering entry. There needs to be simplification in order to reduce barriers while enhancing safety. 

The organisation writes that the EU’s 3rd Driving Licence Directive unintentionally favours direct access over gradual progression, discouraging safer routes. As a result, they believe that it hasn’t improved user safety as intended, it’s kept casualties stable over the last decade. The UK needs a modern, forward thinking licensing regime, one that will address existing user safety and cater for the needs of new entrants into this sector with both safety and convenience in mind.  L-Category vehicles represent just 1% of the overall traffic mix, yet they account for 20% of all road fatalities. Despite this, positively, the Government has recognised their immense potential in accelerating the journey towards net zero and enhancing the quality of our urban and suburban areas, but it must double down on these ambitions if they are to become a reality. 

Instead of basing policy decisions solely on past safety concerns, MCIA believes that the Government needs to adopt a forward-thinking approach, anticipating the future traffic mix. Rather than being a reason to disregard them, their safety track record should serve as motivation to liberate and optimise their viability as a sustainable mode of mobility for the future.

Tony Campbell, CEO of MCIA, said:

“We’re pleased to be launching A Licence to Net Zero today – the time has come for a full-scale review of L-Category licensing requirements. The Government’s recognition of our sector’s role in decarbonising transportation is commendable, but we need the tools to make it happen.

MCIA fully supports the Government’s goals, but we must shed outdated regulations in order to thrive. Licensing is one of the biggest hurdles facing our sector, hindering growth and road safety over the last decade.

Our mission is a simple one: simplify sector access, promote accessibility and cost effectiveness, road safety, and accelerate the UK’s transition to net zero by 2050.”

Craig Carey-Clinch, Executive Director of NMC, said:

“The NMC’s members share MCIA’s belief in the need for significant licensing reform via a comprehensive review of the current regime, particularly as intended benefits for road safety from the current regime have not materialised. Although there are some differences of detail in the NMC’s published proposals, both our positions on the fundamentals of licensing reform align and we are pleased to support ‘A Licence to Net Zero’ in recognition of our shared aspirations.”

Andy Eastlake, Chief Executive of Zemo Partnership, said:

“Access to zero emission PLV’s is one of the fastest ways to decarbonise mobility for many journeys across the UK.  With the advent of new types of vehicles and new users, getting the ‘right licensing for the right vehicles and users’ is a critical enabling step.  Zemo is pleased to see this action progress, from our joint and collaborative plan and in particular to look in detail at the L0 initiative and how we get ‘road and rider sense’ embedded as early as possible to help create a cleaner and safer future mobility system for all.”

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