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23-07-2012 Olympic Route Network to ease congestion?

As everyone prepares for the Olympic celebrations to begin MAG wishes the organisers all the very best, especially with the task of keeping traffic flowing in our congested Capital city.

6am on the 25th July will see the implementation of the Olymic Route Network (ORN)  across London and the use for the first time of the Games Lanes, for VIPs and olympians only.

109 miles of the ORN is designed to improve traffic flow overall, with many parking and loading bays temporarily suspended, turns suspended and traffiuc signal timings altered.

Around 30 miles of this network will be made up of the 'Games Lanes' which are causing controversy, as they are only going to be used by those involved directly with the Games, thus reducing the available road space for others. Although cyclists had hoped to use the Games lanes, it has been deemed unsafe, as many of them are well away from the kerb, unlike bus lanes, and are in high speed zones, such as the 70mph A12. An Early Day Motion has been tabled in Parliament to attempt to gain access to the lanes for cyclists and it will be interesting to see how that develops.

Given that the reasoning behind the whole project is to improve traffic flow, reduce congestion and therefore emissions, MAG is saddened at the obvious oversight by the planning authorities who have yet again, forgotten to include motorcycles.

Transport for London (TfL) acknowledge the importance of motorcycling in urban environments and how safety, traffic flow and congestion can be improved when motorcycles are given priority treatment, not least because it encourages others to switch their mode of transport choice. This is why they have opened London's bus lanes to motorcycles after long term trials and investigations into local air pollution which demonstrated that emissions could be 5 times lower when bikes were permitted to flow freely.

It will be deeply regrettable if traffic accidents involving riders increase during this olympic period because riders are forced into a filtering situation when a completely free and safe lane is available. It has been demonstrated time and again that motorcycles do not congest and do not hinder the progress of the priority vehicles for whom special lanes are designed.

MAG is in discussion with the authorities over this issue and hopes that prosecutions of any riders who may need to use the Games Lanes, will not be forthcoming, as we understand their intention is to ensure traffic flow, reduce congestion and not to raise revenue. It does highlight yet again however, that even though the solution to urban traffic management is staring everyone in the face (and has probably just gone to the front of the queue), no-one seems able to see it!

The Games Lanes will be operational between the hours of 6am and midnight, from 25th July until 14th August and then again (though fewer in number) from 27th August until 9th September for the Paralympic Games.

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