Beverley Nielsen

 

Party: Liberal Democrat                                                  

Website: http://www.beverleynielsen.co.uk/

Facebook: Beverley Nielsen for West Midlands

Twitter: @BeverleyNielsen

Email: beverley@beverleynielsen.co.uk

Beverley Nielsen

West Midlands logo small Transport and congestion on the roads in the West Midlands is understandably a major issue raised in the campaigns of all candidates. Motorcycle Action Group have for many decades promoted the positive benefits of motorcycles as part of the solution to congestion. If you are elected as Mayor, what will you do to promote a modal shift to powered two wheelers?
Beverley Nielsen

It is interesting that the car is seen as 'the key to freedom' for so many of us and yet a much smaller proportion feel the same way about motorbikes and scooters. If we are serious about reducing congestion, we must look at how we can incentivise more people to take the two wheeled option. After all, they are generally cheaper to buy and cheaper to run. I understand there is now a motorbike that won’t fall over and ones that are covered so drivers and passengers will not get wet in the rain. I would be very interested in eliciting your expertise in helping us tackle the issues of perception and incentivisation.

 

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Air Quality is another important topic in light of recently reported threats of fines from the EU. Motorcycle Action Group promotes the positive effects on reducing air pollution that are realised by a modal shift to motorcycles. What will be your policy towards motorcycles with respect to air quality? Will you introduce low emission zone charging and if so will motorcycles be exempt?

Beverley Nielsen

With the funding package we have been given by government we are going to have to look at other means of raising finance and low emissions zones may well be one method. However, I would like to better understand if motorbikes are heading in the same direction as cars, namely electrification. The government seems to have tied its colours to the mast by legislating from April that only new electric cars will be exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty. To be blunt, if I am going to address the issue raised in your first point and get people to give up their cars in favour of motorbikes and scooters, maybe making them all exempt from VED. toll fees, parking fees and anything else that comes along is one way to do this? I would appreciate your advice on this.

 

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There have been recent issues around antisocial behaviour by hooligans that happen to choose motorcycles as the means to their ends. Motorcycle Action Group clearly condemn this kind of behaviour and have offered to work with Police and Councils in any way possible to tackle the issue. However, the resulting injunctions introduced by the Councils to combat the issue have angered many legitimate motorcyclists who feel they have been criminalised under these injunctions. What will be your policy to deal with this issue?

Beverley Nielsen

I think that the day of using blunt instruments to reduce antisocial behaviour is over. The Smart Cities agenda and the technology it proposes should be able to help us differentiate between the good and the bad. As I said above, if we are trying to encourage more people to use two wheeled transport, generalised sanctions are not going to help.

 

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Motorcycle theft statistics nationally are appalling with as many as 70 motorcycles being stolen every day in the UK. What policies /action will you take in the West Midlands Combined Authority to combat this national issue in our region?

Beverley Nielsen

Once again I am sure that the Smart Cities agenda can help us with motorcycle (and car) theft. It is critical that if we are going to help people make the switch that they feel safe and secure in their decision and so we must ensure that we can use technology to reassure them.

 

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Across the 7 Councils making up the WMCA there are varying policies with regards to motorcycle access to bus lanes. MAG has campaigned for PTW access to all bus lanes for many years. What will you do as West Midlands Mayor to ensure a consistent policy towards bus lane access across all 7 Councils?

Beverley Nielsen

I think allowing motorbikes and scooters to use bus lanes is an excellent idea and would be another incentive to switch.

 

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Light segregation furniture for cycle lanes (referred to as Armadillos, Orcas etc) have been proven to be trip hazards to pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. MAG supports anything that increases safety for any vulnerable road user group, but not at the cost of increased risk to motorcyclists on the roads. Can you confirm that if you are elected as Mayor you would block any attempt to introduce light segregation schemes or any other cycling segregation that reduces road space available to motorcyclists, thus increasing risk for PTW riders?

Beverley Nielsen

Anything we do to make life more difficult for motorcycle or scooter users is strategically counterproductive however well intention it may be. You now know my strategic objective is to encourage as many car users as I can to switch to a two wheeled alternative so the issue about constraining space for motorcyclists is not something I will support.

 

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If elected Mayor will you attend and support Motorcycle Action Group's annual event to promote the benefits of motorcycling which we are planning to hold at Cannon Hill Park in July?

Beverley Nielsen

I very much look forward to attending your event in July and will bring along my team so we can see how many of them are willing to make the switch.

 

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Will you show your support for motorcycling and determination to uphold the rights of motorcyclists by becoming a member of Motorcycle Action Group?

Beverley Nielsen

Bearing what I have said above I can’t see any problem in supporting your intention.