A controversial trial that has permitted motorcycles to use bus lanes in London has not caused an increase in cyclists accidents or deaths – despite fears to the contrary, according to TfL.
A detailed look at 28 of the 418 Transport for London Road Network (TLRN) bus lanes involved in the trial found that fears of an increase in cyclist collisions with motorcyclists were ‘unfounded’.
Cyclist coliisions in bus and control lanes actually fell, according to the report, and there were no fatalities over the trial period.
Cycle organisations London Cycle Campaign and CTC both expressed concern over trials in January last year. At the time CTC campaigns and policy manager Roger Geffen said: “Allowing motorbikes into bus lanes under the guise of an ‘experiment’ is a very worrying development."
The current trial, which officially ends on July 5th, will be followed by a new Motorcycles in Bus Lanes trial, announced today. The new trial will permit motorcyclists to use red bus routes in the capital.
A survey of road users found that 93 per cent of motorcyclists and 51 per cent of cyclists and car and van drivers aware of the trial supported it.
The trial has revealed, through an independent report, that there is a question over how motorcyclists use bus lanes, with an increase in the rate of motorcycle collisions with cars. At the trial sites there was an increase from 30 to 41 collisions, whereas there was a reduction from 16 to eight collisions on the Control sites.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Motorcyclists have made a consistent case to be able to use TfL’s bus lanes, and the initial trial has shown some positive results. The chaos that was predicted by some doomsayers has clearly not materialised and, as I suspected would be the case, we have found substantial support for the measure.
“There is always scope for improvement and a new trial, with a strong focus on safety, will allow motorcyclists to show that they can adhere to the spirit of the trial and ride with respect. The impact of these new measures will help us decide whether motorcyclists can continue to use the bus lanes in future years. One of the ways we can smooth traffic flow is by encouraging more people to get on two wheels, and the prospect of using bus lanes to avoid traffic and having an easier journey should help with that aim."
Ben Plowden, director of Better Routes and Places at TfL, added: “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.”