Investigation

What’s the deal with two-wheelers in Monaco?

deux-roues-monaco
Monaco Tribune

It is a means of transport that is used by a good number of Monegasques, residents and workers in the Principality, but two-wheelers ‘can get people quite revved up’. In an attempt to answer the question, we gathered testimonies from our readers and compared them to the position of the Government and Public Safety, and the opinions of a Monaco driving school and delivery company.

22% of cross-border commuters use two-wheelers to get to work in Monaco. While they are a little more environmentally friendly and practical than cars, they raise many issues, such as noise, safety and parking. Monaco says “yes” to two-wheelers, provided they are electric! The Principality encourages riders to ‘go electric’, in particular through purchase subsidies. For electric two-wheelers, tricycles and quadricycles, this “currently amounts to 30% of the price including tax of the vehicle, excluding options, with a ceiling of €3,000, which represents a substantial incentive”, the Government states, adding that discussions are underway to increase this percentage.

For electric two-wheelers, tricycles and quadricycles, the purchase subsidy currently amounts to 30% of the price including tax of the vehicle, excluding options, with a ceiling of €3,000

Government of Monaco

The incentive to switch to electric vehicles clearly shows Monaco’s determination to promote transport that plays a part in reducing CO2 emissions. As the executive points out, “they are complementary to walking, cycling and public transport and meet the needs of those who are not able to use other modes of transport.”

SEE ALSO: Monaco On: an update on the electric vehicle charging points

The aim is to reach more people and in particular professionals, like EatIn Monaco. The application, launched two years ago, uses only electric mopeds. “We have 50cc and 125cc bikes and the Principality advised us to go electric,” confirms founder Léo de Bruyn.

The noise issue

Further development of electric vehicles would reduce noise pollution, as many people on social networks complain about the noise – especially at night – in the Principality. “People who honk their horns in the evening for no reason and make an incredible racket because their vehicle has been customised or has a non-original exhaust system, shouldn’t be driving in the first place”, says Jean, while others think that reducing the maximum speed to 30 kph, down from 50 kph would be a solution. But this measure is not currently envisaged, the Sûreté Publique confirms.

The areas most affected by noise pollution are primarily those with roads that are part of the Grand Prix circuit, i.e. Larvotto/Portier, Monte Carlo/Casino and Condamine/Port, followed by those with direct through traffic routes, such as Boulevard du Larvotto/Dorsale.

You have to admit that when it comes to traffic congestion, ten mopeds and motorbikes are better than ten cars, right?

Emmanuelle, Monaco Tribune reader

“Regulating the noise would be good… Two-wheelers often make more noise than cars”, complains Corinne for example, one of our readers, while Emmanuelle counters: “Sure, the noise from some two-wheelers can be a nuisance, but you have to admit that when it comes to traffic congestion, ten mopeds and motorbikes are better than ten cars, right?” The Government concurs, stating that “congestion is caused by light vehicles (cars) and not by two-wheelers.”

Dangerous behaviour

While two-wheelers may not be responsible for traffic jams, it is clear that they are involved in the majority of accidents. Three out of four to be precise. Although the number of accidents involving two-wheelers has fallen considerably since 2007, from 174 to 83 last year, two-wheelers remain the most dangerous mode of transport, particularly the smaller models. According to Thomas Spillebout, a motorbike instructor at Georges driving school for 17 years, the problem is generally rider behaviour.

Two-wheelers remain the most dangerous mode of transport, particularly the smaller models

“We see most two-wheelers driving quite fast and not observing the Highway Code, stop signs or rights of way, for example. That’s how accidents happen. If you stand and watch the Monaco-Menton road, it’s scary. We get scooters and motorbikes overtaking each other going into a bend, which is obviously a problem. Some feel they are above the law.” However, it is not for want of stressing to learners that “driving a two-wheeler is much more dangerous than driving a passenger vehicle. Firstly because they don’t have the surrounding bodywork to protect them, and secondly because they are not very visible”, adds Thomas Spillebout.

There are many testimonies to back this up. Ariane feels totally “fed up”. Two-wheelers “overtake on the right and on roundabouts”. “Someone needs to explain to two-wheelers that if cars are stopped at a pedestrian crossing, it is to let pedestrians cross. So it’s very dangerous to overtake and put their foot down”, adds Francine.

And yet the police are “omnipresent” both day and night, Fabien Vachetta assures us. The Senior Police Commander says “many roadside checks are carried out every night to deter road users from breaking the rules.” But for the driving instructor, what is really required is to be “a little tougher in terms of enforcement.”

Les deux-roues ne respectent pas le Code de la route, dépassent à droite et doublent dans les ronds-points

Thomas Spillebout, motorbike instructor

Although electric vehicles reduce noise pollution, they are also more dangerous. “In Monaco, there are many small pedestrian streets. At events like the Yacht Show, people walk in the middle of the street, and when you’re on an electric bike, they don’t hear you coming. It can be dangerous for both the driver and the pedestrians”, acknowledges Léo de Bruyn, who tells us that he is particularly vigilant about how his delivery staff drive. “They are given very strict instructions. They are all on probation for the first few days with one of our more experienced delivery drivers, so we get feedback on their driving,” he says.

More parking spaces

Contrary to what one might think, the number of two-wheelers on the Principality’s roads is not growing. “The vehicle registration figures over the last few years are more or less stable,” the Monaco Government reports. However, there has been “a fairly sharp drop in registrations of 80-125 cc two-wheelers and very strong growth in electric two-wheelers”.

“Being able to get around on two wheels is an advantage. It’s much quicker”, says one reader, while others rue the lack of parking spaces, as one reader testifies: “I find it just impossible to park in Monaco. I work in Larvotto and there are never any spaces, even the car parks are often full. It is very challenging!” Similarly, Jean-Louis writes: “I get the impression that the Principality would rather do away with them altogether by gradually getting rid of all possible parking spots! If this carries on, I will have to go by car and add to the pollution and traffic jams in Monaco.”

To this, the Government replies that with nearly 8,900 parking spaces for two-wheelers on the streets and in public car parks, the Principality is “well equipped.” Nevertheless, it admits that the number of spaces is not entirely sufficient and is considering the provision of additional two-wheeler spaces, “particularly in the Condamine neighbourhood.”


How much does it cost to park mopeds and motorbikes in Monaco?

On-street parking is free for all types of two-wheelers. However, parking in public car parks is not.

Subscriptions have the following rates:

© Department of Public Works, the Environment and Urban Development

Discounts may apply:

© Department of Public Works, the Environment and Urban Development

In terms of ad-hoc parking charges, two-wheelers benefit from a daily flat rate, applicable after two hours:

© Department of Public Works, the Environment and Urban Development

The most popular electric two-wheelers in Monaco 

A study carried out in 2011/2012 described the ideal moped for the Principality’s steep terrain. The result: 4 kW power and a range of 50 km seemed sufficient. The study’s conclusions are supported by the statistics on subsidised two-wheelers:

© Department of Public Works, the Environment and Urban Development

The Italian manufacturer Piaggio is on top of the leader board for subsidised electric two-wheelers in 2021, according to this chart from the Department of Public Works, the Environment and Urban Development. PIAGGIO Vespas that are close to Frost & Sullivan’s criteria with a power of 3.5 kW for the 50cc equivalent and 4 kW for the 70cc equivalent, represent 21% of subsidised two-wheelers. Just behind, with 20%, come STROMER electric bikes. Although they are bicycles, they are included in the moped category because they have more than 500 watts of power.


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