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.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.