Archives For Bus lane

Motorcycles in the bus lane

December 22, 2011 — 11 Comments

Yesterday TFL announced that motorcycles will now be allowed to use all bus lanes in London.

Previous to yesterdays announcement motorcycle use of bus lanes in London was on a trial basis, the second of its kind. Both trials lasting 18 months and on selected sections. This was to gain an understanding on the effect of allowing them to use the bus lane.

Collision rates in bus lanes in the second trial decreased by 5.8 per cent for motorcyclists and by 8.5 per cent for cyclists when compared with the first trial

Safety in numbers, as long as two wheelers stick together and don’t squabble about the space then I’m sure people will be more aware about us in the bus lanes.

In line with this increased enforcement, the average speed for motorcyclists in bus lanes reduced by 6.5 per cent during the trial, with the proportion of motorcyclists exceeding the speed limit decreasing by one fifth (51 per cent in September 2010 down to 41 per cent in September 2011).

41% of motorcyclists still speeding in the bus lanes? Seeing as how that was enforced by the Police, it shows just what sort of problem we have on our roads. People see speeding as acceptable even with the dangers of the bus lane.

Another study by TfL 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

It was quiet clear already to know that using the bus lanes is faster than sitting in a queue of cars. Seeing as how I can often keep up with a few motorbikes and mopeds over a few miles of bus lane and stop starts at traffic lights, 36% faster is a pretty good figure to hear. Now if only a bus lane went from my house to my work place.

As long as motorcyclists are aware that they need to share the bus lane with us (that is a two-way street) then I don’t have too much of a problem with the idea. But if they start behaving like the examples below, it is going to be a problem!

You can find out more information about the previous study here.

At least that is what sparge2 thinks.

its a BUS LANE UM ITS FOR BUSSES SO GO AND FU CK OFF YOU PEOPLE ARE ARSHOLES STOP WASTING PEOPLES TIME AND GET A LIFE OH AND YES I DO LOTS OF MOUNTAIN BIKEING AND ON THE ROADS

Not every city or area lets cyclists use the bus lanes but in London we can, I understand that not everyone will be aware of this. But I have also been told to get out of the bus lane by a motorcyclist in London, haha!

RTC 16.12.10

June 23, 2011 — 5 Comments

It’s snowing, the ground is wet and traffic is backed up. I’m cycling in the bus lane and traffic up ahead starts moving but I miss a set of cars not moving at the start of a side road. The result is a car driving through a gap and into the side road, going straight across the bus lane without checking. It ended with me landing on the bonnet of the car with my arm taking my full weight which flexed the bonnet so much that my arm hit the engine block.

The police attended the scene and the driver spoke very little english. At the time the driver claimed that he didn’t see any lights on my bicycle, despite my bicycle laying in the street with the 900 lumen magicshine light and 240 lumen hope vision 1 light blaring on to the ground, lets not also forget the helmet mounted torch that I have which was shining in his eyes. The obvious problem is the driver didn’t look, so of course he couldn’t see.

An independent witness came forward (the driver of a vehicle that was waiting to leave the side road) and his statement matched my side of the story, which was also backed up by the video footage I had.

You would think that having video footage of the event would make everything plain sailing. Oh how wrong could you be. First I was told by the case manager that video evidence could not be used.

it is not something we would be able to use in court. This is due to the fact
it would not be seen as independent evidence and an argument could be
made to the effect that the footage could have been tampered with.

My response to that..

In at least 2 cases in 2010 video evidence was used in court to secure
convictions against vehicle drivers, they where recorded using similar
video equipment by cyclists.

My video evidence matches the statements that me, the vehicle driver and
a witness gave to the Police that attended the scene. I had not seen the
video before giving my statement and neither of the witness had viewed
or know about it.
This video evidence should not be dismissed due to the fact that an
argument could be made to the effect that it could have been tampered
with. As it clearly shows that the driver crossed across a bus lane
without checking to see if anything was in it. I have been advised that
if this is to be dismissed, it should be done so by a magistrate or
jury.

That was not the end of my issues. The MET’s video evidence/surveillance rooms are not capable of playing digital videos in modern h.264 formats. So they where not able to play the video that I had sent them. That in its self is quite frustrating. It ended up with one of them playing it on a personal laptop. How they then got it into a playable format to be used in court I do not know.

The case went to court nearly 7 months after the incident and I heard about the results yesterday, the driver was charged with Careless or Inconsiderate driving, got a £350 fine, 6 points on their license and ordered to pay £100 court fees. That is certainly a good result.

All that is left now is for me to claim back the cost of the damages from his insurance company.

Vauxhall Bridge Cycle Lanes

February 9, 2011 — 4 Comments
View along Vauxhall bridge, London. Taken from...

Image via Wikipedia

A while ago I posted a video that showed just how dangerous the cycle lane on the southbound side of the bridge is. It’s very narrow and even the average sized car will pass you far too close, just imagine if a coach or bus passes you.

I use Vauxhall Bridge daily to get to and from work. Traveling on it north bound is perfectly fine. There is a lovely bus lane on the left hand side, you will only encounter a bus if you use the cycling short cut through the gyratory.

Taking the Bridge south bound on the other hand is a totally different story. The cycle lane runs the full length of the bridge and is very narrow for the full duration.  There is a bus lane that runs the full length of the bridge but due to the busses needing to enter the bus station inside the gyratory, its position is on the right hand side. I’ve used it a few times, but due to its position and the lack of cleaning, it’s full of stones and pot holes.
This means that to travel across the bridge in safety, you must take control of the left lane and keep up a good speed, the traffic behind you will try to reach/break 30mph. So it’s important that you get up to speed and control it. I’ve had a few close calls doing this but most of the time it’s not an issue and is much safer than taking to the cycle lane.

It’s not just this cycle lane that is a problem, many of the cycle lanes in Pimlico are of poor quality, and on the 22nd of may 2010, a cyclist was killed by a HGV whilst cycling in near one of these cycle lanes just north of vauxhall bridge.
The LCC reported on the issue of the cycle lanes in the area  and their communications officer, Mike Cavenett, has said

This cycle lane is so narrow it was almost not possible to put a bicycle logo on it.

It’s a facility that says to drivers that bikes should be in the gutter, and encourages cyclists to ride in a position that National Standards Training says is unsafe.

It’s not known whether this lane contributed to Mr Smith’s death, but something clearly needs to be done about these potentially lethal facilities.

Many cycle lanes across the UK are of poor quality and they put the people who use them at risk daily. Motorists fail to understand the needs of cyclists and we are often put in danger because they wish to get slightly further up the road.
Without knowledge, cyclists do not know what cycle lane is good and which is bad, Until we remove the cycle lanes or better educate the cyclists, we will continue to see close calls and read about deaths due to the poor infrastructure that is provided for us at the side of the road.