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[EU] Motorcycling is beneficial to society

Discussion in 'Research, Studies, and Data' at netrider.net.au started by robsalvv, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. Another reason to encourage riding!



    Jul 29, 2011
    Study shows that motorcycling is beneficial for society

    A groundbreaking cost-benefit study, focusing on the Paris urban area, found that the increase in motorcycle use is beneficial for society as a whole, with a staggering €168 million net gain for society between 2000 and 2007 in Paris. With time savings, a reduction in congestion and easier parking, everyone wins when more commuters take up motorcycling.

    http://www.fema-online.eu/uploads/images/news/MC in traffic by MotoMag.jpg
    Motorcycles in traffic. Picture: MotoMag

    All those who saddle up in the morning on their way to work should know that in doing so, they are doing everyone a favor: the bike they ride means one less car to form a traffic jam or park in a densely packed neighborhood. At last, a comprehensive study looked at the costs and benefits of motorcycling, not only for the users themselves, but for everyone in general.

    The study, conducted by Pr. Pierre Kopp from the renowned Sorbonne University in Paris, investigated the economic consequences of the continuous rise of motorcycle use in and around the French capital over the last decade.

    Data from 2000 to 2007 indicates a progressive shift in transportation, away from the personal car and toward the metro, train and powered two-wheelers. Over the period, the use of motorcycles and scooters grew by 36%, now representing 7% of overall public and private transport.
    It is not only the number of users that grew - usage also rose by 100 million passenger-kilometres, 53% of which comes from people shifting from public transport to powered two-wheelers, and 26,5% from former drivers.

    Faster transport is better transport
    The positive externalities of motorcycling - the gains for society as a whole - come from a massive reduction in travel time.
    Shifting from car to scooter or motorcycle reduces travel times almost by half, while the time spent looking for parking at the end of each trip is reduced from 16 minutes to... zero. Overall, the shift yields time savings of €293 million.

    With less non-productive time spent travelling, commuters can spend more time on leisure or work. Since 89% of motorcyclists in the area are employed, as civil servants, employees or managers, the time saved on daily trips is extremely valuable to the economy at large.

    Cycling remains on the margin
    Data on bicycle use shows a stark contrast with to the rise of motorcycling: cycling only represents 0.4% of all passenger traffic in Paris. The sustained support from the city for bicycle use yielded disappointing results, despite a number of major endeavors such as the Vélib' short-rental scheme, the opening of bus lanes to cyclists, bicycle lanes on most major avenues, and bike parking built in many locations.

    Overall, 410 million Euros are spent every year in France to support cycling, including infrastructure and awareness policies to make cycling easier, safer and more convenient. Half of this amount comes from the budgets of cities.

    Breathing room for public transport
    The shift from public transport to motorcycles also offers advantages. Travel time is reduced by 60%, representing a gain of €162 million. Balanced with the costs of accidents and exhaust emissions, the bill remains positive, with a solid €62 million gain in the end.
    The shift to motorcycles and scooters also contributes to ease the pressure on the public transport network. The past decade has witnessed a massive increase in public transport use in the Paris urban area: between 2000 and 2007, metro and rail use has soared by 11%.
    In fact, the city's public transport network is bordering on overcapacity, with some metro lines running trains 90 seconds apart at peak hour. The numbers tell it: Paris boasts the busiest underground exchange station in the world at Châtelet-les-Halles, the busiest train station in Europe at Gare du Nord, and one of the busiest passenger lines in the world: RER A, that ferries 1.2 million passengers a day, and where a 10-second delay in closing the doors means 15,000 passengers arriving late. The unforeseen increase in passenger traffic weighs heavily on the equipment and infrastructure, with trains worn down decades before their planned date of retirement, and constant attention required to repair and maintain the metro and train lines. While big projects for new underground lines and exchanges are on the drawing board, they are not expected to be delivered before the middle of the next decade.

    Under those circumstances, commuters taking up motorcycling provide breathing room for the struggling transport network, by helping reduce the constant growth in train and metro usage.
    And while public transport is heavily subsidized, with more than 50% of its operating budget paid by local and national government, new motorcyclists pay for their vehicles, equipment, insurance and fuel with their own money, contributing to alleviate the pressure on public budgets in a time of economic hardship.

    The study underlines an added bonus for car drivers and bus passengers: with more and more drivers trading cars for motorcycles, congestion is reduced and traffic is more fluid, reducing travel times.

    More motorcyclists and everybody wins
    These important benefits in terms of time are balanced with the added costs linked to higher motorcycle use, mostly due to pollution and accidents.

    The cost of accidents is estimated at €49 million over the period studied, mostly from minor injuries, which represent the great majority of accidents involving motorcyclists.

    However, the author points out that the rise in motorcycle use was not triggered or accompanied by dedicated government policies. Therefore, there is room for improvements, and the field is open for safety-oriented efforts aimed at easing the cohabitation of two- and four-wheeled vehicles in traffic.

    Motorcycling is still relatively safe: the Paris urban area witnessed 21 motorcycle casualties in 2010, when motorcycles represent 7% of all passenger transport. In comparison cycling, with six deaths per year and a share of 0.4% of passenger transport, remains by far the most dangerous mode of transport in Paris.

    More costs are linked to the increase in distance travelled, due to exhaust emissions. While pollution increases in absolute terms, the shift from cars to bikes is beneficial, as two-wheelers consume less fuel, travel quickly without sitting idle in traffic, and do not need time to look for a parking spot once the destination is reached.

    Factoring in time savings (including reduced congestion and reduced pressure on public transport), usage costs, accident and pollution, the balance is overwhelmingly positive, with a net benefit of €168 million. Not bad, considering that not a single cent was spent by national or local government on promoting or supporting powered two-wheeler use. The author makes an interesting comparison with the state support for cycling , saying that "Little or nothing has been done for the 2-wheeled motor vehicle sector even though its social benefit is incomparably higher".

    The conclusion is that the rise of powered two-wheeler use is "unavoidable", because of their "very attractive characteristics". The numbers unequivocally show that this rise is beneficial to society overall. Motorcycles and scooters, in the end, are the choice that offers the best combination of personal benefit, through lower cost in time and money, and public benefit, through their lower fuel consumption, infrastructure use and contribution to congestion.

    The study: http://www.pierrekopp.com/downloads/2011 The unpredicted rise.pdf
    • Like Like x 12
  2. Quick we'd better legislate it into oblivion!
    • Like Like x 2
  3. This is a sign of our (sick) times: benefit to 'society' is seen as the standard of merit by which all activities should be judged. Individual liberty is to be eliminated and replaced by cost-benefit analyses.

    The moment you start arguing for motorcycling on the grounds of 'social benefit' you are tacitly accepting the premise that your liberty means nothing, and that you should be prevented from riding if the numbers come up red on some pen-pusher's spreadsheet.

    **** THAT.

    I will ride because I choose to ride, not because I'm helping lower the annual cost of congestion in the city. I will ride because I love the thrill of it, not because it contributes to lower road maintenance costs.
  4. Can you please forward this bit on to our eco-vandal Lord Mayor of Sydney, who is always sprouting about how much pushbikes get used in Europe? The roads she's destroying in her bike-path drive disadvanatge everyone, motorcyclists, motorists AND the businesses on those roads trying to make a quid.
  5. I am in her electorate and she is pro motorbike compared to any other council. The only one with free parking instead of that ticket bullsh&t, the most dedicated motorcycle parks etc.

    She might be anti car but anti motorbike is wrong.

    Get onto all the other councils to follow her lead on motorbikes before we start harassing her.
  6. Interesting. It's nice to know that our fun is helpful.
  7. Mate, it's another nail in the argument coffin against the beige and boffins - they talk about the cost of motorcycling on society - well here's a study that shows it's a net benefit.

    Rant and rave in ideologic glory all you like, but when we get a win and clear advantage - on their own terms, we need to take advantage of it.
  8. Thanks for the correction (y).