National cycling charity CTC says letting electric cars use bus lanes will increase the likelihood of serious road traffic incidents involving cyclists.
As we reported yesterday, drivers of the vehicles are to be permitted to use bus lanes in Derby and Milton Keynes, two of the cities that are benefiting a share of £40 million in funding aimed at encouraging motorists to switch to less polluting vehicles.
While rules vary between different locations, typically cyclists and taxis are permitted to use bus lanes during their hours of operation while other vehicles including private cars are not.
Sam Jones, campaigns co-ordinator at CTC, told road.cc: “For new and existing cyclists, being able to use bus lanes has a lot to offer. There's less traffic to negotiate and it also feels safer than riding outside the lane, between buses and general traffic.
“Opening bus lanes up to other traffic clearly undermines these benefits and is not good news. Add into the mixture largely silent cars and the chances of serious incidents look set to increase.”
He added that while the government is keen to push the credentials of electric cars as a means of reducing pollution, cycling already provides a sustainable form of transport and one that needs greater levels of investment than is currently happening.
“The government has justified its interest in Low Emissions Vehicles claiming they are expected to deliver very high value for money,” he explained.
“However, we already have a transport system which knocks all others out of the park in terms of value for money: cycling.
“Needless to say funding for cycling is pathetically low, and currently sits at around £1.39 per head outside of London.
“If the government is truly serious about reducing congestion and improving air quality by 2020, the best thing it can do is end its fixation with building more roads.
“There needs to be a reallocation from the £15bn funding for roads towards cycling, and then the drive and leadership to see space for cycling rolled out across the UK,” he added.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.