New Motorcycles in Bus Lanes Trial Begins

With safety awareness campaign, BikeSafe training and strict speeding enforcement


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Motorcyclists in London will be permitted to use the Capital’s red route bus lanes under a new 18 month Motorcycles in Bus Lanes trial that begins on 24th July 2010.

The new trial will allow motorcyclists to ride in the 418 bus lanes on the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN) that were used in the previous 18 month trial, which ended on 5 July. However, the new trial will also include the following additional elements:

  • A new road safety awareness campaign aimed at improving drivers' awareness of motorbikes and cyclists in bus lanes;
  • Motorcyclists on BikeSafe training will have their courses updated to include extra training on awareness of vehicles crossing their path at junctions;
  • There will be strict enforcement of speeding by motorcyclists, in order to improve safety.

A report into the previous trial examined the 418 TLRN bus lanes that the trial covered, and looked in detail at 28 of those Trial sites, comparing them with 28 Control sites on parallel routes where motorcyclists did not have access to bus lanes. It found that:

  • Fears of an increase in cyclist collisions with motorcyclists were unfounded;
  • There was a fall in the cyclist collision rate across trial bus lanes and the control lanes, with a smaller decrease in the trial lanes, and there were no fatal accidents over the period of the trial;
  • More than half (51 per cent) of motorcyclists switched from riding on the outside of the road to the bus lanes.
  • In addition, a separate study by TfL that used police traffic officers to study journey times in bus lanes indicated that 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.

Road user surveys of more than 2,000 Londoners also found that:

  • 93 per cent of motorcyclists and 51 per cent of cyclists and car and van drivers who were aware of the Motorcycles in Bus Lanes trial supported it.
  • Fifty four per cent of motorcyclists said they now use TfL’s road network more often following the start of the trial.

However, the independent report found that some questions remain about the way in which motorcycle riders use bus lanes. It identified that there was an increase in the rate of motorcyclist collisions, predominantly with cars turning into or out of side roads on routes where motorcyclists had access to bus lanes. At the Trial sites there was an increase from 30 to 41 collisions, whereas there was a reduction from 16 to 8 collisions on the Control sites. In light of those findings, the decision was made to introduce the new trial, which starts this weekend and will run for 18 months.

Ben Plowden, Director of Better Routes and Places at TfL, said: “As part of this new trial, we’ll be introducing a focused road safety awareness campaign aimed at making drivers more aware of the need to look out for motorcyclists’ and cyclists’ presence in bus lanes. Motorcyclists undertaking BikeSafe training will also receive additional information on the need to watch out for vehicles turning across their path at junctions.

“Stricter enforcement of speeding by motorcyclists will also be a priority to improve safety. Taken together, these campaigns will be part of our wider effort to help reduce the number of motorcyclist collisions taking place on London’s major roads.”

July 23, 2010