Sustainable2Wheels Success!

4thSusainable2Wheelspic2acemLast week’s Sustainable2Wheels event organised by ETRA (European Twowheel Retailers’ Association) at the heart of the European Parliament in Brussels, has been hailed a great success!

The event was organised for the fourth time during European Mobility Week on the esplanade of the European Parliament, positioned in the right place for European policymakers to take notice and understand the issues of 2Wheels – bicycles, electric bicycles, scooters and motorcycles in European policies.

The event consisted of various presentations/demonstrations, with more exhibitors at the event this year, a number of projects and organisations presented their initiatives in the field of sustainable transport for a 2Wheel solution.

ETRA reports that there were clearly also more members of the European Parliament and representatives of the European Commission present at the event.

ETRA said, “They came to take stock of the latest 2Wheel technology as well as to enter into dialogue with the representatives of the national trade associations. Besides BOVAG, there were also representatives of the Belgian, Danish and French dealer associations.

The event also hosted two well-attended political debates. First, Vice-President of the European Parliament Isabelle Durant and the Bulgarian MEP Preslav Borissov entered into discussion with a representative of the European Commission, a representative of the 2Wheel sector and a researcher on the role of 2Wheels in European environmental policy. In the second debate MEPs Brian Simpson and Michael Cramer talked with the other panellists on 2Wheels in urban transport policy.

Both debates showed that the interaction between the local and the European policy level is still up for a lot of improvement. Too often in policies involving transport, European institutions fail to take initiative whilst “hiding” behind the principle of subsidiarity. (This means that political decisions in the EU must always be taken at the lowest possible administrative and political level and as close to the citizens as possible.)”

Motorcycle organisations, that we are aware of that attended with display stands, included the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) and ACEM (Association des Constructeurs Européens de Motocycles) the Motorcycle Industry in Europe.

ACEM said, “Faithful to the tagline “Beat the traffic, enjoy the city”, motorcycle manufacturers are presenting new ground-breaking models contributing to the evolution of sustainable urban mobility.”

ACEM representative manufacturers gave live demonstrations of the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell Powered Two-Wheeler to earn type approval, a Suzuki Burgman and the prototype of the BMW electric scooter. On the ACEM stand, manufacturers showcased an exciting line-up of innovative, fuel efficient and enjoyable vehicles – from ultra-efficient internal combustion engines, to zero emissions electric and fuel cell propulsions, Electric mopeds and scooters where also available for testing.

ETRA rounding up on the benefits of powered two wheelers said, “Yet, transport is responsible for a large part of European environmental problems and has other harmful effects for instance in the field of road safety, congestion, public health, etc. Many of these adverse effects are due to “excessive ” use of cars . Half of all car trips in the European Union are less than 6 km and can just as well be done on 2Wheels. This requires a policy that encourages people to consider their travel behaviour better and incites them to make more use of 2Wheels for shorter journeys. ETRA consistently proclaims this message to the European institutions by means of lobbying and promotion activities such as Sustainable2Wheels.”

At Right To Ride in the grand scale of European promotion and presentation, we couldn’t agree more with what ETRA has said, regarding powered two wheelers of whatever power delivery.

What is especially relevant is, that all organisations need to be active and engage with the European institutions by means of lobbying and promotion activities, if you have no purpose or a dedicated reason,  there is no use in standing outside throwing rocks to get attention.

“But Where Are The Motorcycles?”

4thSusainable2Wheelspic3acemSo we are quite bemused that FEMA (Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations) has made a statement, not for the first time, regarding European Mobility Week, which the Sustainable2Wheels event is an integral part.

FEMA say that during the debate at the event that, “According to Jose Fernandez Garcia, Policy Officer of Clean Transport & Sustainable Urban Mobility – DG MOVE – the solution lays in “Improv[ing] the structure to improve safety for bike”. The Motorcycling sector would have agreed with such conclusion, provided it was consulted… . The PTW community has a lot of actual and practical solutions to offer to address the many mobility issues of modern cities, so why is it not consulted?”

FEMA added that, “All in all, the European Mobility Week hasn’t evolved much in its approach to “mobility” over the last few years, disregarding as always citizens’ real needs and all existing alternatives. Fortunately initiatives like Sustainable2Wheels brings some lights over the PTW sector, committed to provide sustainable and affordable mobility solutions to everyday needs. Hopefully discussions on the coming Urban Mobility Package will be more balanced and integrate all stakeholders.”

In 2008 FEMA was reported as saying, that it, “Does not understand why motorcycles are always excluded from mobility debates while they clearly contribute to improving citizens’ mobility, offering affordable and sustainable solution to daily mobility needs.”

In that instance ACEM replied, “ACEM’s relations with the European Commission, Members of the European Parliament and other transport stakeholders are extremely satisfactory and the result of a long and uninterrupted dialogue and collaboration at European level on several projects and policies involving Powered Two-Wheelers. It should be underscored that also due to this relationship, and its ramifications at national and local level, today PTWs are increasingly being taken into account in mobility policies. The alleged absence of PTWs from any initiative organised in the context of the European Mobility Week, is therefore simply not true.”

In 2011 FEMA said, while taking part taking part in Clean Week 2020 and the SMART2WHEELS event, which was part of EU Mobility Week, “The European Union kicked off today the “EU Mobility Week 2011: Alternative Mobility” which will see hundreds of towns and cities participate in activities promoting sustainable mobility, without mentioning motorcycling.”

In 2012 FEMA said, “The European Union kicked off yesterday the “EU Mobility Week 2012: Moving in the Right Direction”, organising activities to promote sustainable urban mobility – without a single mention of motorcycles or scooters. A new campaign “Do the right mix” encourages the shift from car to bus and bicycle – but where are the motorcycles?”

FEMA also said that it took action by, “Contributing to the SUSTAINABLE2WHEELS event”, which was part of the EU Mobility Week, “Promoting cycling and electric two-wheelers and their potential to improve the environment in European cities, it includes an exhibition of innovative vehicles and a debate with Members of the European Parliament on two-wheel policies, including the design and construction of infrastructure for electric vehicles.”

Well, if you are in and part of these events, then you can only aim to win, to present your point of view and positions.

Push – Cajole – Lobby – Push

4thSusainable2Wheelspic1etraHowever maybe FEMA is right and not living in a parallel Brussels, as Mobility Week organisors say, “The Week culminates in the ‘In Town Without My Car!’ event, where participating towns and cities set aside one or several areas solely for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport for a whole day.”

The debates at the event did mention, “That the interaction between the local and the European policy level is still up for a lot of improvement.” so maybe there is some sort of recognition that improvements are needed.

Or maybe like ETRA – ACEM – FIM it is up to motorcyclists to push, cajole, lobby, push again and actively present motorcycles – the powered two wheeler – not only to the EU policy makers but to our own policy makers for inclusion!

We have written to the organisors of European Mobility Week, asking them to comment if they thought that there was a lack of involvement, a lack of evolution, a lack of consultation of the PTW (Powered Two Wheeler) community as regards to European Mobility Week.

In other words, how PTW’s fit into the European Mobility Week campaign?

We await their reply with interest!

Link – Information – Original Sources

ETRA Sustainable2Wheels event – Click Here

ACEM – the European Motorcycle Industry Association – Click Here

FEMA – Click Here

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  1. “On the ACEM stand, manufacturers showcased an exciting line-up of innovative, fuel efficient and enjoyable vehicles – from ultra-efficient internal combustion engines, to zero emissions electric and fuel cell propulsions,”

    I do wish that people wouldn’t call them zero emissions, if it’s a plug in it has to be charged, be it from coal, gas, wind or solar it has emissions somewhere in the power/equipment production process, likewise fuel cells require a fuel, that needs separation which takes power (see above) so isn’t ‘zero emission’! Displaced emissions is a truer description.

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