Saturday, 1 November 2008

Motorbikes in bus lanes

ISLINGTON’S cycling MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Emily Thornberry have joined a growing chorus of opposition to Mayor Boris Johnson’s plan to allow motorcyclists to use bus lanes.

Activist Leo Chapman, who has been a cyclist for 20 years, said he was appalled by the plan. He added: “Boris is a cyclist himself so I can’t understand why he’s doing this. “Motorbike handle- bars are more than 3ft wide with mirrors and will take up a lot of space on a 12ft-wide bus lane.” Motorcycle courier Marcelo Marcus, 36, from Leytonstone, on the other hand, thought it a good idea.“Sometimes we have difficulty squeezing through the cars,” he said.
“Cyclists will be nervous at first but they will learn to get used to us.”

One technical study concludes:

Motorcycles are capable of high acceleration and are manoeuvrable. It is therefore possible their rider’s behaviour could result in them coming into conflict with other road users and pedestrians crossing the road who were not expecting motorcycles in bus lanes.

What is missing from this debate in all the commentary I've read is the fact that nearly 40% of motorbikes are untaxed (the culprits include police officers).

The Cyclists Touring Club argues that

Powered Two Wheelers (PTWs) are a distinct class of vehicle not comparable to bicycles.
PTWs should not be allowed in bus lanes, cycle lanes, advanced stop lines or vehicle-restricted areas.

PTWs are also disproportionately hazardous to pedestrians' and cyclists' safety as well. Per mile travelled, PTWs are about 1.5 as likely as cars to be involved in collisions which cause serious injury to cyclists, twice as likely to be involved in causing them serious injuries and about three times as likely to be involved in killing them.

Transport for London invites comments on the plan: Feedback will be formally accepted between 5 January and 5 July 2009. If you'd like to comment before then please contact us. More information here.