EghtesadOnline: To curb the growing annoyance of dilapidated motorcycles in the capital city of Tehran, several state institutions have signed a multilateral agreement to resume the scrappage of old two-wheelers.
Mohammad Mehdi Mirzaei, a senior official at the Department of Environment, told ISNA that late last week, the department signed a deal with Iran Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization, Iran Chamber of Commerce and Association for Scrappage and Recycling Centers over phasing out 140,000 rundown motorcycles, accoreding to Financial Tribune.
Pointing to the fact that there is a law regarding this undertaking, Mirzaei said its implementation was halted due to lack of coordination among the institutions involved.
"The deal considers the law’s implementation on a small scale to make it easier for the executive agencies to execute the plan. In case everything goes forward as expected, the agreement will be extended in a phased manner,” he added.
The scrappage bill was ratified by the parliament in September 2018. After a while, local motorcycle producers, in cahoots with the Industries Ministry, forwarded a request to the legislature, requesting the bill’s withdrawal. The bill’s implementation has since been postponed.
The bill required motorcycle companies to phase out one old two-wheeler for each new gasoline-powered motorbike they sell.
In February 2019, DOE announced that the bill was shelved by the government.
Tehran is notorious for its huge number of motorcycles, most of which are substandard and often responsible for the high number of traffic accidents as well as air and noise pollution.
Of the total of 11.5 million motorcycles registered in the country, over three million ply the capital city’s roads.
Studies by sociologists indicate that the main reason for the high number of motorcycles is that they have become a convenient means of making a living for many people, especially those on the dole queue.
Because of Tehran’s heavy traffic snarls, many commuters who need to get somewhere quickly prefer to take a motorcycle instead of a taxi.
Based on figures released by the traffic police, 70% of motorcyclists use their motorbikes to earn money and only 30% for personal commuting.
Unsafe and Polluting
According to Tehran Emergency Medical Center, almost 30% of all deadly accidents involve motorcycles. Unfortunately, many motorbike riders don’t wear helmets and head injury is the main cause of death of 61% of motorcyclists in accidents.
Peiman Saberian, the head of the center, told reporters that one motorist dies in Tehran’s road traffic crashes daily.
"Over 350 injured people are taken to Tehran's emergency centers, a majority of which are motorcyclists," he added.
Looking back at earlier figures, nearly 30,901 people lost their lives in motorcycle accidents in the capital between 2006 and 2010. This is equal to 25.7% of all traffic-related deaths. About 90% of the victims had educational qualifications lower than a high school diploma.
Some of the surveillance cameras installed across the capital and suburban roads are unable to register traffic offences committed by motorcycle riders and that’s why they escape penalties. They are also involved in more accidents than car owners, as they normally drive at high speed with impunity.
The cameras need a technological upgrade to register the license plates of all offending motorcyclists.
Besides spiking the road mortality rate, the two-wheelers generously spew poison into the air. At present, Tehran’s streets are littered with highly polluting motorcycles whose emissions are 12 times greater than the average city car with Euro-4 standards.
On average, 1 million motorcycles spew 286 tons of carbon monoxide, 100 tons of sulfur dioxide and more than 7 tons of nitrogen dioxide into the air daily.
Although a switch to electric bikes has been proposed as a practical way out of the deteriorating condition, urban managers say this is easier said than done.
Tehran Mayor Pirouz Hanachi noted that the volatile motorbike market and soaring prices are a big impediment in the way of boosting production and promoting the use of electric motorbikes.
“However, work is underway to offer cheap loans to those willing to purchase electric motorcycles and support local producers of zero-emission two-wheelers," he added.
Tehran’s mayor also said the other challenge facing electric motorbike producers is the poor availability of lithium batteries.
TM is currently negotiating with private sector companies to tackle the issue either by establishing cheap battery recharge stations or battery exchange centers, where drivers will be able to hand out their empty batteries and receive fully-charged ones at a cheap rate.
Developing clean transportation systems and non-motorized modes of commutation have been prioritized by TM since Hanachi took office in November 2018.