The last 10 years have seen a growth in the ownership of motorcycles, scooters and mopeds, with increases in registrations of over 200% since 1993. The RAC say demand for on-street parking has increased to such an extent that motorcyclists are increasingly having to park in inappropriate places like footways, pedestrian areas, and forecourts.
The RAC Foundation says it is concerned that local authorities are not putting the interests of motorcyclists first when considering their parking strategies.
In central London, there has been a 15% increase in motorcyclists entering the congestion-charging zone since the charge was introduced in 2003. This has led to a situation whereby motorcycle parking spaces are generally over-subscribed. On a normal working day, those wishing to commute in to London on their scooters or motorbikes, have to get in by 8am at the very latest in order to secure a space. Even where there are pay and display parking spaces available, bikers are reluctant to park and pay as the tickets are easily stolen from their bikes.
With the potential for congestion charging schemes in other cities in the near future, and a further possible shift to motorcycling, the RAC Foundation is calling on local authorities to free up under-utilised car-parking spaces and convert them into extra parking for motorcycles.
At places where longer term parking can be anticipated e.g. at public transport interchanges, workplaces and shopping and entertainment centres, access to secure and affordable parking spaces should also be provided.
Sarah Forrow, campaigns manager of the RAC Foundation says: "Motorcycles are cheap to run, convenient, congestion busting, and can significantly improve people’s journey time reliability. It is vital that motorcyclists should be given access to sufficient parking space in city centres.
"The introduction of the congestion charge in London has seen a massive increase in motorcycle use in the city centre. This pattern is likely to be repeated as other cities introduce their own schemes. It costs next to nothing to convert under-utilised car-parking spaces into much needed space for motorcycles."