Boris Johnson hits out at "doomsayers" ahead of new motorbike bus lane trial

Second trial to last 18 months from July

by Simon_MacMichael   June 18, 2010  

Motorcycle (copyright Simon MacMichael).jpg

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has backed a decision by Transport for London (TfL) to authorise a second trial of permitting motorcyclists to use some of London’s bus lanes after an earlier trial demonstrated a rise in the number of accidents.

 

The trial will start on 16 July and, like the first one, which is due to end in just under three weeks’ time on 5 July, will last 18 months, and a report which compared the 28 trial lanes to 28 control sites where bikers could not use bus lanes says that there has been a rise in collisions, mainly with cars.

However, according to the BBC, it also shows a decrease in the number of collisions with cyclists in the lanes included in the trial, as well as demonstrating shorter journey times for motorcyclists.

TfL said that the second trial would coincide with a road safety campaign that urges drivers to look out for motorbikes and cyclists.

Commenting on the new trial, Mr Johnson said: "Motorcyclists have made a consistent case to be able to use TfL's bus lanes, and the initial trial has shown some positive results.”

He continued: "The chaos that was predicted by some doomsayers has clearly not materialised and, as I suspected would be the case, we have found substantial support for the measure.

"There is always scope for improvement and a new trial, with a strong focus on safety, will allow motorcyclists to show that they can adhere to the spirit of the trial and ride with respect," the mayor added.

Those so-called “doomsayers” include the London Cycling Campaign (LCC), which has long fought against the concept of allowing motorcycles to share cycle lanes, and its concerns were heightened last October, when a female cyclist died nine days after being struck by a motorbike on the Embankment.

Following that incident, LCC communications officer Mike Cavenett said: "Even though this fatality didn't take place in a bus lane, it shows how vulnerable cyclists can be.”

Speaking ahead of the close of the consultation period on the proposed trial in January this year, he added: "We're campaigning to reverse the mayor's trial, and give back bus lanes to cyclists as areas that provide them with greater safety."

The LCC believes that “allowing fast-moving motorbikes and scooters in bus lanes increases danger for cyclists,” and says that “in particular, it will discourage less-experienced cyclists from using these routes, which is likely to harm the mayor’s own targets for increasing cycling in the capital.”
 

5 user comments

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The biggest threats to cyclists in bus lanes by far comes from buses and cars that turn left without indicating or looking. Motorcyclists face the same issues. However whereas with a bicycle many car drivers will simply leave the scene of the accident, a motorcycle leaves a much bigger dent in a car that is harder to explain away. Similar issues affect bus drivers. As far as I can see, having motorcyclists in bus lanes will encourage car and bus drivers to look properly, with the benefit of improving safety for cyclists also. Oh, and I do commute in London and used the A23 that was the initial trial over a number of years and I do know what I'm talking about.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2206 posts]
18th June 2010 - 17:15

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Motorbikes are allowed in the bus lanes in Bath and Bristol, I use the lane coming in to Bath on the London Road most days and while sometimes it can be a bit disconcerting when a bike shoots past you - they always give you way more room than car, van, or lorry drivers do.

The only person I've ever seen injured in the bus lane was a motorcyclist a few weeks back when I'd guess a scenario exactly like OldRidbeback suggests had just played out, a car pulled out from a side road without looking and took the guy on the motorbike out in what looked to be a very nasty incident.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4143 posts]
18th June 2010 - 17:31

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Thing is Tony a motorcyclist will come off almost as badly as a cyclist in the evnt of an impact, a fact of which a biker will be well aware. And a motorbike puts the rider faar closer to other vehicles so it is considerably easier to judge distances.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2206 posts]
18th June 2010 - 21:45

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no argument on that OldRidgeback, a motorbike is likely to be travelling much faster, poor fella I saw certainlly looked in a bad way.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4143 posts]
18th June 2010 - 22:13

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@OldRidgeback you make some good points here! Motorbikes will always shoot past, which can be a bit of a shock but that's not a new thing that's come from allowing them to share the bus lane. They do give a lot more respect to cyclists, mainly because they can relate to struggles with other road users, I was waiting at a roundabout last year and some guy just cut me off and a guy on a bike behind him slowed down and let me out and just look at the other driver as he then sped past and shook his head, it's was a very nice gesture! Personally i'd like to see more motorbikes and bicycles on the road, the more bikes there are the more aware cars will be of all of those on two wheels.

Rookie rider

posted by dave6779 [36 posts]
18th June 2010 - 23:23

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