ULEZ and Congestion Charge Guide For Motorcycle Riders in London

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Those of us that have ridden our motorcycles around London know that it is a little stressful, with the volume of traffic, pedestrians, cyclists, cars, taxi drivers, buses, and everything else in between. 

Well adding to the stress if you aren’t in the know, can be congestion charges. 

So, we have gathered everything you need to know about congestion charges and the Ultra Low Emission Zone for motorcyclists, with this information on hand you can avoid any unwarranted bills coming through your door. 

Let’s get started with the ULEZ.

What is the ULEZ?

ULEZ stands for the Ultra Low Emission Zone and is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year with the exception of Christmas Day.

The initiative was set up as a result of toxic air pollution being mostly caused by traffic emissions in London. 

The idea was to reduce this as much as possible to increase clean air in the city and reduce health complications as a result of toxic air. 80% of vehicles in the city are now compliant. 

Where does the ULEZ cover?

ULEZ zone

The zone covers all areas of London within the North and South Circular Roads. 

The North Circular (A406) and South Circular (A205) are not included as being in the zone. 

If you are unsure whether you will be driving through the ULEZ then you can use the map and postcode checker here on the Transport for London website. 

What is the charge for driving through the ULEZ?

  • Motorcycles need to meet the ULEZ standards otherwise they are required to pay a £12.50 fee daily to drive inside the zone
  • The ULEZ charge is inclusive of residents living within the zone
  • The daily charge runs Midnight to Midnight
  • There is a Penalty Charge of £160 (reduced to £80, if paid in 14 days)

How to pay the daily charge? 

  • Pay online here
  • Set up AutoPay which has a £10 annual fee
  • Download the TfL Pay app from both the Apple App store and Google Play store
  • Pay by phone UK: 0343 222 2222

What are the Minimum Emissions Standards you need to meet to avoid paying the fee?

Motorcycles need to at least meet Euro 3 emissions standards for NOx.

Generally, Euro 3 engines registered with the DVLA after July 2007 fall into this category however, there are some cross/over exceptions as the ULEZ rules are enforced on declared emissions of the vehicle as opposed to the age. 

If you are unsure if your bike meets the appropriate standards you can check by entering your registration plate here

If your bike doesn’t come up using the search facility you can contact your manufacturer and submit evidence to the TfL that your bike meets their standards. 

There are also testing facilities you could contact for the evidence required. 

If your motorcycle does not meet these standards then you will be subject to the £12.50 daily fee.

Electric motorcycles

Electric motorcycles emit no NOx or CO2 from the tailpipe and therefore emit no emissions and are completely exempt from the ULEZ charge.

Does the ULEZ charge apply to classic motorcycles?

If your motorcycle was built more than 40 years ago then you can apply to stop paying vehicle tax. 

If your motorcycle is in the historic vehicle tax class then you will be exempt from ULEZ charges. 

Low Emission Zone (LEZ)

Motorcycles are not subject to the Low Emission Zone charges. 

Congestion Charge Zone

The Congestion Charge Zone is also not applied to two-wheeled motorcycles, mopeds, or motorcycles with a sidecar. 

However, if you have a motor-tricycle things may get a bit complicated.

If your trike is less than 1m wide and 2m long it will be eligible for a 100% discount.

You will have to register and apply for the discount paying an annual fee of £10. 

You are also required to send images of the vehicle from the front, back, and side, with the registration plate visible and the V5C document. 

If your trike doesn’t meet the size requirements then you will be subject to the £15 daily charge if you ride within the CC zone between 7am-10pm. 

Charges apply daily with the exception of Christmas Day onwards up to New Years Day Bank Holiday. 

You can see where the Congestion Charge Zone covers here.

Check out how to pay on the TfL website here, methods include AutoPay, Online, TfL App. 

Final Thoughts

There you have a full rundown of what you need to be aware of when riding your motorcycle in London. 

The one to be most conscious of (unless you are on a big trike) is the ULEZ charge particularly if your motorcycle was registered with the DVLA before July 2007. 

To avoid getting stung with a Penalty Charge, be sure to check out your route beforehand, and if you enter the ULEZ have your payment method set up.