AA uses motorbikes to beat trafficIt launches a three-month trial in London

03 April 2008

AA patrolman

The AA is to use electric scooters and motorbikes so its patrols can beat traffic jams in central London.

The UK's biggest breakdown service has launched a three-month trial in the capital and it’s the first time the AA has used bikes to attend breakdowns since the mid-1990s.

The AA believes the bikes will be able to reach breakdowns up to 25% faster.

Traffic congestion

A Which? report on breakdowns last year, which included a survey that covered almost 13,000 breakdowns, found that the AA was faster than the RAC in reaching customers. We found that the AA reached 47% of breakdowns within half an hour, while the RAC reached 41% within this time.

But the AA is keen to improve its times, particularly in busy areas. 

AA President Edmund King said: ‘On busy city roads, one flat tyre can delay thousands of motorists and further aggravate congestion.

‘By cutting through traffic, AA bike patrols will reach breakdowns more quickly and get our members and other drivers back on the move with the minimum delay.’

Traffic in Bristol

The AA trial comes as new figures showed that traffic in Bristol moves slower than vehicles in parts of London.

The Bristol average was 16.8mph compared with London's 16.9mph, although the central London figure is just 10mph.

The city speed league table was compiled by the AA in conjunction with traffic information company Trafficmaster.

Glasgow

The next-slowest city was Glasgow (where average traffic speed is 17.3mph), followed by Southampton and Liverpool (both 17.8mph) and Manchester (18.8mph).

Edmund King added: ‘We need radical action to beat record slow traffic in our cities and decided that two wheels are quicker than four. By fixing breakdowns more quickly, we will improve service to our members, and help reduce congestion and emissions.

‘Our analysis of traffic speeds in major cities shows that congestion is not just a London problem, with Bristol bottom of the league, and Glasgow, Southampton and Liverpool less than 1mph quicker than London

Traffic speeds

Excluding London, these are the slowest average traffic speeds in UK cities:

  • Bristol 16.8mph
  • Glasgow 17.3mph
  • Southampton 17.8mph
  • Liverpool 17.8mph
  • Manchester 18.3mph
  • Cambridge 18.8mph
  • Birmingham 19.4mph
  • Sheffield 19.6mph
  • Cardiff 21.8mph
  • Newcastle 24.0mph