Four wheels bad, two wheels better

Using two-wheeled vehicles for everyday mobility can help decongest traffic, according to the Belgian Automobile and Cycle Federation (FEBIAC). The group made the statement yesterday, during Belgium’s annual Ride to Work Day celebration.

FEBIAC said that motorized two-wheelers could be a viable mobility solution to help decongest Belgian roads, calling for wider promotion of the use of motorbikes and scooters in Belgium for everyday transportation, and not just for leisure.

Using two-wheeled vehicles, motorcyclists can avoid traffic jam headaches by slipping through vehicles stuck in traffic, provided overall speed does not exceed 50 km/h and that the speed difference between the motorized two-wheelers and the cars is no bigger than 20 km/h.

Besides issuing the statement, the federation issued a call to create a mobility budget where both motorbikes and scooters would be fully integrated. By integrated, it means employers should adopt measures to promote their everyday use, such as the creation of dedicated parking spots or providing special lockers for helmets. In addition, FEBIAC noted that employees that drive cars can sometimes receive allowances for their vehicles. Employees that use motorcycles or scooters, unfortunately, are left to assume all of the costs.

Earlier this year, an international traffic report by navigation app, TomTom, found that Brussels’ roads were the most congested, on par with London and ahead of Paris, and that drivers in the Belgian capital could expect a journey to take 37% longer than it should, on average. That report, unfortunately, does not include the Philippines.

Belgian motor vehicle federation says two-wheelers can decongest roads image

By contrast, a 2015 driver satisfaction index by traffic navigation app, Waze, found that Belgium ranked 6th in the world as one of the best countries to drive in. The Philippines, by comparison, was ranked the worst in the world. The most congested on Tomtom’s list, Mumbai, India, was not included in Waze’s records. The second worst, Colombia, was ranked 6th worst on Waze.

Nonetheless, it’s refreshing to see a well-developed country recommending motorcycles and scooters for daily use to reduce congestion. Whether the same can be said for the Philippines remains to be seen.

FEBIAC is the federation of the car and two-wheeler industry in Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It represents the manufacturers and importers of the means of transport on the road (passenger cars, commercial vehicles, motorized two-wheelers, bicycles) in Belgium and Luxembourg; and at European, international, federal and regional level.

Belgium celebrates the third Monday of June as Ride to Work Day. It is an international event aiming to promote the use of motorcycles and scooters as an everyday means of transportation, instead of only for leisurely rides.