London debates motorcycles in bus lanes

Matter has become election issue in city’s mayoral race

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Mar. 06, 2008
Opening up bus lanes for motorcyclists has become an election issue in London.

Conservative party candidate Boris Johnson says that if he is voted in as mayor in the May 1 election, he will allow motorcycles to use bus-only lanes in England’s capital.

Johnson says a recent report that there would be fewer accidents if motorcycles were allowed to ride in bus lanes is being suppressed by incumbent mayor Ken Livingstone.

“The Mayor’s own report says this is safer. It will reduce congestion and also cut pollution. I want to encourage people to get out of their cars and use other forms of transport and this will make it easier for them to do so,” says Johnson. “I have studied this report and, as a cyclist myself, I think this is a no-brainer.”

The report, conducted by Transport for London, a government body responsible for managing the city’s transportation strategies, examined the effectiveness of motorcycles being allowed in bus lanes. Motorcycles were permitted on bus lanes on three sections of London roads. The report was due in January but was leaked before officially being released.

“There have been three trials of motorcycles in bus lanes. Two showed small benefits to motorcyclists, but larger ‘disbenefits’ to cyclists and pedestrians. The third, which has been leaked, showed benefits to motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians,” says a spokesperson for Livingstone’s office. “However, this study had very serious methodological flaws and transport experts do not consider it to be reliable.”

Bicyclists and taxis are currently allowed to use bus lanes, but motorcyclists and other drivers face a fine for using them.