The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has hit out at the authorities in Paris authorities over their plans to ban all motorcycles manufactured before 1 June, 1999, between 8am and 8pm from the city. The measure, scheduled to begin on 1 July, will be enforced with a €35 fine from 1 October. The ban was agreed by the Minister of Environment, the City of Paris, and the transport authorities.
MAG says the policy contains some glaring contradictions, and the level of pollution generated by vehicles does not seem to be the key consideration. “Vehicles in Paris already require a coloured badge to show the emissions group they belong to,” said MAG chair Selina Lavender. “Yet pre-1999 bikes will be banned regardless of the colour of the badge. That means that, even if a bike is ‘clean’, it will be excluded from the city solely on the basis of age.”
Lavender says the scheme is unfair and counter-productive. “Whatever problems Paris has with air quality aren’t going to be fixed by a blanket ban on older bikes. For one thing, even an aging scooter has a tiny environmental footprint compared with most new cars. So what’s the logic of banning a ‘good’ form of transport on the basis of what looks like political dogma?
“Also, the total amount of road traffic made up of older bikes and pre-1997 cars – which will also be banned – is less than 10%. Of that, a minuscule proportion is bikes and scooters. So it makes no logical sense to ban this two-wheeled section of road traffic – as there’s going to be no measurable difference to air quality. It’s a discriminatory, badly thought out move which will make Paris hugely unattractive to thousands of owners of older and classic bikes.”
London is considering an ultra-low emissions zone by 2020, which would introduce heavy charges for vehicles that do not meet stringent emissions standards. MAG says it has repeatedly raised the same concerns about this move as it is about the Paris ban. “MAG is happy to work with the authorities to find sensible solutions to common concerns,” added Lavender. “What we won’t tolerate is the systematic exclusion of one of the most eco-friendly forms of powered vehicles ever invented, just because the decision-makers haven’t bothered to take a strategic – and sane – look at the consequences of what they’re doing.”
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