As endemic traffic problems in Belgium continue to worsen, FEBIAC has come out with a passionate plea for commuting by motorbike or scooter.
FEBIAC – in full, the Belgian Federation of the Automobile and Bicycle Industries – points out that motorised, two-wheeled transport remains an under-used mode of mobility, especially during the commute between home and work.
7.1 million vehicles
The most recent figures (for 2015) show that the 7.1 million vehicles on Belgian roads total just over 100 billion km per year. Cars, 5.6 million in all, accounted for 78 billion km. A total of 466,000 motorbikes and scooters had a combined mileage of 1.22 billion km – which is just 2,600 km per motorised two-wheeler for that year.
In fact, while the number of motorbikes and scooters continues to rise, the average annual mileage keeps falling. In 2000, the total number of motorised two-wheeled vehicles was just 278,000, but the average mileage stood at 3,600 km.
Range of measures
A recent survey shows that less than 1.5% of commuters used motorbikes or scooters for their daily commute. “This is all the more strange, given that government has issued a range of measures promoting motorised two-wheeled transport”, says Stijn Vancuyck of FEBIAC.
Motorbikes and scooters are, for example, allowed to overtake cars – provided a speed limit of 50 km/h is respected, and the speed difference between the two-wheeler and the cars does not exceed 20 km/h. This measure is tailored to give two-wheelers an advantage over cars in congested traffic.
Motorbikes and scooters are thus an excellent time-saving mode of transport, FEBIAC contends, considering that the average (car) commuter into Brussels loses 41.3 hours in traffic jams (i.e. a whole working week) each year.
To break it down into a practical example: if a car driving 30 km/h in a traffic jam takes 20 minutes to cover 10 km, a scooter going 50 km/h will only need 12 minutes to cover the same distance. Motorbikes and scooters are also better for the environment (not least because they are stuck in traffic less) and easier to park.
FEBIAC is pleased to note that Belgian companies are increasingly dedicating parking space for motorbikes and scooters – but also notes that those spaces mostly remain empty.
That is why the organisation urges the Belgian government to expressly include motorised two-wheelers in the proposed mobility budget. “If 10% of car drivers stuck in a traffic jam would switch to motorbikes or scooters, the length of those traffic jams would be reduced by 40%”.
Image: public domain