James Burn

 

Party:  Green                                                                        

Website: http://www.jamesburn.org/

Facebook: James Burn for Green West Mids Mayor

Twitter: @james-burn

Email: james.burn@greenparty.org.uk 

James Burn

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?
James Burn If elected Mayor I will promote a modal shift from modes of transport which cause the most pollution and congestion, and are the most dangerous to other road users, such as large lorries and private cars, to those that are the least dangerous and cause the least amount of pollution and congestion such as walking, cycling and public transport. This would include encouraging a shift to low-powered two-wheelers. 

 

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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?

James Burn As mayor I will look into a variety of different measures to tackle air pollution, this will include low emission charging, but only once there are alternative forms of active and public transport which are sufficiently cheap and convenient enough. If a motorbike were proven to be low-polluting then it would pay a lower or no charge.

 

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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?

James Burn

The new Combined Authority Mayor will not initially have powers over the police, with the Police & Crime Commissioner keeping their responsibilities in the short term. In the future it is likely the two roles will be merged.

As a councillor who represents an area which suffers from illegal use of motor and quadbikes, I understand the issues it causes residents. I would very much welcome the offer of working with the Motorcycle Action Group to tackle this issue. The illegal riders are giving the very many responsible motorcycle riders (of which I used to be one!) a bad name. Motorcycle users who do not engage in dangerous and illegal activity should not be victimised.

 

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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?

James Burn

This area is the responsibility of the Police & Crime Commissioner. So if elected my powers to work on this issue would be limited until or unless the two roles were merged.

As Mayor I would support the MASTER Security Scheme, which statistics show has been very successful in reducing motorcycle thefts. This would include lobbying for increased funding for the scheme and promoting the scheme and encouraging all motorbike users to take part. I would also work in partnership with user groups to work out how we can make the most difference in tackling this issue.

 

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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?

James Burn

There is a clear need for a consistent policy regarding bus lanes. Having different rules in different areas, risks motorcyclists and other road users being unfairly penalised due to inconsistent rules.

If we are going to get serious about congestion and air pollution, we need a wide-ranging review of road space, looking at all classes of vehicle. This is a complicated issue as it would include looking as sprint buses separately to other buses, for example. Sprint buses would likely require their own lanes, to the exclusion of all other modes of transport (including buses that stop more regularly).

At the same time, we should be thinking about allocating road space to less polluting vehicles, vehicles that are more vulnerable and vehicles that cause less congestion to encourage and protect use of these vehicles. Motorcycles would obviously fall into this category.

 

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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?

James Burn

Good quality segregation has been shown to be effective in improving safety for cyclists and other vulnerable road users, and so I favour segregated cycle routes when they are done well. The key is “when they are done well”. This would not include schemes that increase risks to motorcyclists or other vulnerable road user groups.

 

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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?

James Burn

If elected I would be very happy to attend your event in July. As long as I’m not lucky enough to be on holiday!

 

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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?

James Burn

As a previous motorcyclist who switched to buses due to the dangerous and irresponsible driving of some car owners and after a number of falls, I absolutely want to join you in promoting safer roads for motorcyclists and if elected, I'll be very happy indeed to join. Motorcyclists account for a far higher number of accidents than the number of motorcycles on the road should warrant, mainly due to poor road design and the behaviour of other road users. This has to change.