Motorcycles in the bus lane

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.

11 thoughts on “Motorcycles in the bus lane

  1. Confess i’ve not read the report, but it doesn’t take a maths whizz to say: “Collision rates are irrelevant if there’s a massive difference in the overall numbers involved.”

    It’s a useful bit of wallpapering over the growing cracks in TfL’s ability to provide meaningful trasnport options for people: car too slow? Get a motorbike! I suppose they already occupy advanced stop lines anyway …

  2. Rather shocking levels of speeding amongst the motorcyclists, no wonder their journey times are so good 😉

    Having used some of the routes where the trial was running (mainly the A23) I don’t recall having any issues with motorcyclists/scooter riders in general. Yes they do tend to use the ASL but as they tend to at least have a decent understanding of how 2 wheeled vehicles behave and don’t try and barge in when there isn’t room or push to the front then I generally don’t mind – due to their ability to filter they usually make it to the front of queuing traffic only to find they’d have to wait alongside the 4 wheeled vehicles, much safer in front then crowding out to the side.

  3. its not our road in the same way its not their’s – we would all do better to share what is there – personally I will not in general cycle in bus lanes as it puts you in the cross hairs of bus drivers and there preferred sweeping one into the gutter maneuver… motorcyclists in my experience and in general dont seem great respecters of many of the so called rules of the road… I greatly dislike their propensity for the melodramatic and somewhat superior shaking of the head thing that they do but mostly I let that go as its not a threat to life, not in the same way a taxi drivers preferred close pass might be… its not great out there but I really dont think this will make even the smallest difference…

    1. Bus lanes are the cyclists best friends in London. Bus drivers are pretty damn good, i’ve only had the odd few who do anything dangerous. If you choose the main lane over the bus lane in London you are pretty much asking for trouble.

      1. I disagree – obviously the majority of car bus and taxi drivers are decent people but there are a pernicious minority that are dangerous – personally I find that this minority of bus drivers to be dangerous in the way I described – overtaking then pulling in abruptly requiring action in order not to be swept onto the pavement (Kensington High Street was the worst for this in my experience) – and why would being in the correct lane be asking for trouble, in suggesting this, are you not finding yourself subjugating the primacy of cyclists among other road users – we are as able, equal to others, to choose to use the road – the key is to share… anything else is a form of warfare…

          1. on the road… not all roads have bus lanes…

            to return to your article I remain unconvinced that this change in the law will have any significant impact – motorbikes use bus lanes when it suits them whether its legal or not… and why not, most motorcyclists are fine drivers – better than most in fact as is so bloody dodgy – its the mentality of “this bits mine not yours” that causes most of the problems on the road in the first place a construction that can come from us as much as from them…

          2. Well you missed my point, you stated that you don’t use bus lanes. so where do you position your self on the road when there is a bus lane? I’m trying to find out if you put your self in an unsafe position just because of a potential risk from an overtaking bus which is much easier to control than several cars.

          3. in general I dont use bus lanes – I mostly stay away from the kerb especially when there are lots of buses around and in the event of a there being a bus lane Ill be in the lane next to it and if thats full of cars then Ill be on their offside… all the way out to the middle of the road where I prefer to filter if everything else is stationary and in fact where you find most motorbikes…

            my point is that one should and can cycle where its safest and where its appropriate with due consideration of others using the same bit of road not just through defensive decision making

            there is no prescriptive point to make about road positioning as its fully fluid and dependant on conditions in the moment

            which is also why I think this change in the law is irrelevant

          4. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that you cycle in an unsafe position. Bus lanes are certainly of great importance to cyclists in London. I don’t see why anyone would choose not to cycle in them if the road they are on has them (if they are not blocked by busses at bus stops)

    2. I am a cyclist and ‘biker’ in bristol, I commute by motorbike (and for pleasure) and cycle as a hobby.
      I however do not think we are melodramatic! I shake my head because people cannot understand my muffled comments, if I do shake my head its because an action has endangered me or themselves. People seem unaware that it takes longer to stop a motorbike and as you are all aware whitelines are slippery in the wet, motorbikes hurt if they fall on you etc. I am a law abiding biker and cyclist, two of the accidents I have had have been the driect result of cyclists. In the first incident I was travelling in a bus lane, cyclist in front heavy traffic to the right, the cyclist stopped in the middle of the lane to answer his phone. I had nowhere to go and slammed my brakes on the bike locked up and highsided me over the bars, to which the cyclist shouted at me for totalling his bike!
      The second incident , I was filtering past traffic at a sensible speed and a cyclist filtered past me (must have been 20+ mph) hit my right handle bar , unbalancing me and sending me into oncoming traffic, needless to say they rode off knowing full well what had happened. So do you think we are being melodramatic now?
      (but I totally understand the other views)

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