Motorcyclists gain limited access to bus lanes in Brighton and Hove

After a great campaign by Brighton MAG,  Brighton & Hove City Council has given the go-ahead to a limited trial allowing access – for powered two-wheeled vehicles (PTWs) – to two and a half miles of Brighton and Hove bus lanes (notably a stretch of the A23 from Carden Avenue to Preston Drove, Brighton, and a section of the A259 coastal road).

MAG welcomes this news, in so much as it is clear that the study Brighton & Hove Council undertook came up with the same conclusions as found elsewhere in other UK and major European cities; in particular Stockholm & Barcelona.
To be precise, allowing PTWs into the bus lanes improves safety for the riders. As well as encouraging more people on to motorcycles and scooters, this will:

  • Address congestion by improving traffic flow and improve sustainable transport use
  • Enhance accessibility to the City centre
  • Improve air quality while lowering carbon emissions
  • Promote value for money
  • Make better use of the infrastructure and contribute to Brighton and Hove’s sustainable transport strategy.

Motorcycles and Scooters have been allowed access to bus lanes in Bristol for the past 17 years and in Reading for the past 14. Both of these locations are a similar size to Brighton and the schemes have proven to be a great success. Also, Birmingham, Bath, Hull, Plymouth, Peterborough, Colchester, Swindon, Derby, Central London (TfL Red Routes) and Bedford, to name a few, have granted motorcycle access to bus lanes, as well as embraced motorcycling into their transport policies to help reduce travel time, congestion and to meet their emissions targets.
In all of these locations, despite suggestions to the contrary, it has been demonstrated that there has been no detrimental effect to pedestrians or local bus services.

Brighton MAG is pleased that Roger French, MD of Brighton & Hove Bus & Coach Company (on both BBC Radio Sussex and in a letter to MAG’s South East Rep, John Mitchell), has publicly supported this initiative (with one caveat – North Street in Brighton, which is already very congested with bus traffic), which reinforces the evidence that this scheme is not detrimental to local bus services.

Despite all of the positive attributes of this decision, the limited extent of the trial seems to be at odds with the Council’s own Draft Road Safety Strategy 2010-2020, in which PTWs are named as a priority vulnerable group. Brighton MAG asks why there should not be a full roll-out across the city, given that the evidence in this country, and abroad, is that allowing 2-wheelers into bus lanes reduces accidents and injury?

As such, Brighton MAG is keen to continue dialogue with the Council, to understand the reasons for their decision. However, until the Council can release the study & the corresponding data to us to review, we are unable to draw our own conclusions.