Tuesday, 6 January 2009

‘Feisty but well-informed…’

Guardian journalist Dave Hill gives a thumbs up to this blog and wants to know what I think of Boris Johnson allowing motorcyclists to use bus lanes.

Well, I think it will lead to confusion, since the new rule only applies to bus lanes which are under the control of Transport for London. It won’t much affect me as there are hardly any bus lanes in Waltham Forest, though where they do exist – Lea Bridge Road and Forest Road, for example – these are major cycling commuter routes. Against allowing motorcyclists in bus lanes are both the London Cycling Campaign and the Cyclists Touring Club.

Personally I don’t generally find motorcyclists threatening (but some cyclists do). Though it irritates me when they go into Advanced Stop Lines for cyclists, as they do nearly all the time, or, very occasionally, use cycle stands to park. What particularly bothers me is that nearly 40% of motorbikes are untaxed.

I can only think of three bad experiences I’ve had as a cyclist in connection with motorcyclists. Once I missed by a couple of seconds a serious collision with a motorcyclist who was tearing down a one-way street at high speed in the wrong direction. A couple of years later I had a similar experience, but on this occasion I heard the roar of the approaching engine and had plenty of time to avoid a crash. And a few weeks ago I was using the cycle lane through the road closure at the end of South Access Road E17 when I was given a fright by the loud, unexpected blast of a horn. A motorcyclist was right behind me and impatient that a cyclist was slowing him down in the cycle lane. He overtook me once I reached the road and went roaring down the Black Path cycle lane at speed. When he reached the blind corner there he just blew his horn and thundered round it.

It all happened too fast for me to get a photograph, or even get this maniac’s registration number (which in any case often isn’t easy where motorbikes are concerned). I was also feeling shaky from having a horn blasted at me from right behind when I was cycling placidly on a cycle lane.