London Mayor extends motorcycle access to bus lanes

Mayor Boris Johnson has today announced he will continue to allow Motorcycles to use bus lanes operated by Transport for London.

The Mayor said:
‘The chaos that was predicted by some doomsayers has clearly not materialized and, as I suspected would be the case, we have found substantial support for the measure.’ Among the findings of the various studies on the effect of this 18-month experiment to see if a permanent arrangement would improve road safety.

  • More than half (51 per cent) of motorcyclists switched from riding on the outside of the road to the bus lanes.

  • Fears of an increase in cyclist collisions with motorcyclists were unfounded.

  • Journeys made by motorcycles using bus lanes were, on average, more than 10 per cent quicker than those not using bus lanes and 36 per cent quicker than cars.

MAG welcomed the news but warned that riders, TfL and other road users all must play their part in making bus lanes safe for riders everyone. “The Mayor has done the right thing after taking this opportunity to look at the real causes of collisions. Once again it has been shown that allowing motorcycles to use bus lanes has created no greater risk for riders and other vulnerable road users.

However, the findings seem to show that both motorcycle users and pedal-cyclists may be bearing the brunt of falling driving standards.” said MAG General Secretary, Nich Brown. MAG supports TfL advice that drivers need to be sure they are not putting anyone at risk, especially when turning across bus-lanes at junctions. However, the group warned that simply relying on an appeal for better driving and enforcement of motorcycle speeding offences will not address the fundamental problem of poor junction design where collisions have increased.

Nich Brown called on TfL to investigate low-cost improvements and new junction designs: “Bus Lane access has worked well across the country. If TfL are willing to look at improving junction design on some of the busiest roads in the UK, then riders and other road users outside of the Capital will also benefit.” MAG has also called on the DfT to support the extension of motorcycle access to bus lanes everywhere.

Nich Brown said: “The efforts made by TfL to get things right should be supported by all local councils who operate bus lanes. In particular, those London boroughs who currently deny access for motorcycles should consider the adverse effect they are having on road safety by creating confusion and lack of consistency. Road safety will be maximised once all road users know to expect to see bikes legitimately using all bus lanes.”