From today (5th January) motorcycles have been granted access to main route bus lanes in London.
The adoption of this policy allows riders to see and be seen by other road users, as well as helping motorcycles to improve on their already excellent congestion-busting advantages.
The initiative was an election promise by London Mayor Boris Johnson and comes more than ten years after bikes were first allowed to use bus lanes in the city of Bristol following a successful campaign by local MAG members.
MAG General Secretary, Nich Brown said today “the adoption of this policy in the capital city has been a long time coming but its benefits should soon become apparent. The experience of other UK cities as well as previous experiments in London shows that where motorcycles are allowed to use clear road space in congested traffic there are fewer crashes.”
Motorcycle riders are being urged to follow a simple code of practice designed to protect everyone in and around bus lanes.
- We share bus lanes with other vulnerable road users, take extra care around them.
- Be aware of pedestrians walking through traffic queues and at bus stops.
- Look out for pedal cycles and give them a wide berth, they may suddenly change direction or position.
- Pass cyclists on the offside only – never undertake.
- Always assume cyclists cannot hear or see you behind them.
- Do not use excessive speed when using bus lanes or overtaking cyclists.
- Do not overtake each other.
- Watch out for other vehicles at junctions and side roads.
- Take extra care when riding alongside congested pavement areas.
- We are ambassadors for motorcycling, riding in a bus lane is a privilege that needs to be respected.
But MAG has highlighted the need for other road users to play their part in road safety. “Urban collisions involving motorcycles are generally not caused by the rider” said Nich Brown “typically a rider will be travelling with right of way when another driver crosses their path at a junction, or a cyclist rides off the pavement into the road or a pedestrian steps out in to the road”. In these circumstances, riders in bus lanes will be more likely to be seen and MAG believes this means collisions will decrease.
The new rules allow access to those bus lanes on the main routes controlled by Transport for London. Some London Boroughs have also moved to open up bus lanes on local roads so that the benefits can be more widely enjoyed, other Boroughs’ failure to open access to their bus lanes may well cause unnecessary confusion as road users will have to check which bus lanes are still closed to bikes after today.