ALMOST one-third of motorists would consider switching to a motorcycle or scooter to save on petrol costs.

A survey conducted for the Motorcycle Council of NSW as part of NSW Motorcycle Awareness Week also found that more than seven out of 10 people in NSW believe motorcycles and scooters will become even more popular in future.

The trend towards two-wheel transport has been boosted by a City of Sydney proposal to give motorbikes free meter parking and cheaper motorway tolls. The council votes on adopting the strategy next Monday.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said: "More motorists are feeling the pinch [from] increasing petrol prices and are switching to motorbikes, which can consume up to four times less fuel than a car, while being easier to park and easing congestion by taking less space on our roads. The City … supports the gradual shift away from large, polluting vehicles to smaller vehicles to complement walking, cycling and public transport."

Motorcycle Council of NSW chairman Guy Stanford said: "The City of Sydney is creating a transport policy that actively includes motorcycles and scooters and we congratulate them on this initiative."

The survey, conducted by Newspoll, also found that seven out of 10 people in NSW support motorcyclists paying a lower toll than car drivers. "Motorcyclists are happy to pay a toll as long as the price is fair. A car driver does not pay the truck rate for tolls," Mr Stanford said.

The survey showed the increasing popularity of motorcycles, he said.

"National sales hit an all-time high of 129,966 last year and in this state alone there are 6200 scooters on the road," he said. "Switching from a family sedan to a scooter for daily activities would reduce the petrol bill by about a third, so it’s no coincidence that the petrol hike and traffic congestion in Sydney have increased demand for two wheels," he said.

Former Olympic swimmer and keen motorcyclist Kieren Perkins is an ambassador for Motorcycle Awareness Week. Perkins, 35, stressed the need for other road users to watch out for motorcycles and scooters. "Look in your blind spots and remember that we’re all sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers out there," he said.

Today the NSW Motorcycle Council will hold its annual Breakfast Torque at Loftus Oval, Loftus from 8am to 11am with free breakfast, riding demonstrations and a safety gear fashion parade.

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