The week in review – Congestion charges and the great road tax debate

Tax Disc

After a week off, we’re back with a bumper week in review because it’s been pretty hectic over the last 14-days.

This week, Ed Milliband and David Cameron kind of went head-to-head, without actually talking to each other, on TV.

Not one of them mentioned a motorbike, which was shocking and a sure fire way of losing voters, we’re sure you’ll agree.

But one politician definitely did mention motorbikes this week, or at least, he had something of an impact on motorbike riders in London. That politician, as you might have guessed, is Boris Johnson.

The Mayor of London’s office confirmed that the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) (that has been going through a consultation since November) will come into place in September 2020, meaning motorbikes that fall foul of new emissions standards will have to pay £12.50 per day to ride in the central London zone.

The news has got lots of riders talking and none of the comments are too complimentary, as you can see from this shared post below.

FB congestion discussion

Further bad news for riders came with George Osborne’s Budget statement where it was revealed that road tax will rise for motorbikes. It doesn’t rain, it pours!

While the increase isn’t great (a maximum increase of £3 dependent on the type of bike you own), it will have many people wondering why motorbike road tax isn’t based on CO2 emissions, as is the case for cars – something that is answered here.


In light of the road tax announcements, The Bike Insurer decided to dig into the government’s e-petition platform to find out what aggrieves UK riders the most.

Low and behold, road tax is one of the most frequent topics for disgruntled UK riders, along with a bid to prevent noise complaints from tenants that live close to racetracks.

New models and pricing

Something very exciting happened last week when the Ducati Panigale 1299 arrived at UK dealerships.

Something equally exciting but slightly less immediate was Suzuki’s big price reveal for the new GSX-S1000.

Slightly more under the radar was the unveiling of Yamaha’s latest Sport Heritage model, the XV950 Racer – a café-racer inspired model from the Japanese giant.

£8m worth of motorbike sold under the hammer

Last week we brought you details of an incredible and historic motorbike auction that was being held in Las Vegas.

239 models in the EJ Cole Collection went under the hammer of Mecum auctions and it was expected to be the most expensive motorbike auction in history.

This week we confirmed that those predictions were spot on as the collection of American models, built between 1903 and 1991, fetched upward of £8m, despite a few models staying firmly on the shelf.

Steve McHendo with optional generator

British clean sweep in Buriram

Thailand played host to its first ever World Superbike race last weekend but it was business as usual for Jonathan Rea as he continued his impressive start to the year with a double win at the Chang International circuit.

Leon Haslam finished second in both races, Tom Sykes rounded out the podium in race one and Alex Lowes in race two, as the early season British dominance in World Superbikes continued.

Friday treat

As you may have seen on The Bike Insurer in recent weeks, we’ve been on a brilliant road trip around the west coast of America.

Here’s the first of four videos documenting our trip.

Next page: Motorbikes to pay £12.50 to ride in central London