September 22 2005.
The MCI is challenging policymakers and transport experts who claim that allowing motorcycles to use bus lanes will lead to safety problems for motorcycle riders and other users of bus lanes.
Several UK Local Authorities, including Bristol, already allow motorcycles to use bus lanes. In response to a growing demand for bikers to use bus lanes in the capital, Transport for London has been running three fully monitored experiments on key bus lanes in London.
When completed next year, the experiment will have run for three years and interim reports into the effect of allowing bikes in bus lanes has drawn mixed reviews depending on who has commented on the results.
Those who oppose the use of bus lanes by motorcycles have seized on aspects of the data to support a case against motorcycles, with a new mythology about the safety aspects of the scheme emerging. In July, an answer to a Parliamentary Question by the Minister Karen Buck contended that the number of accidents involving motorcycles into bus lanes in the experimental scheme had increased.
However, a British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF) analysis of the interim report challenges this new mythology by looking at external factors which have affected the experimental scheme. This reveals that extensive road works on the A13 portion of the experiment has affected the data, which if readjusted to take this into account reveals that allowing motorcycles to use bus lanes in the experimental areas has led to a 19.5% fall in motorcycle accidents.
MCI's Director of Public Affairs, Craig Carey-Clinch said; "Other bus lanes schemes around the country have demonstrated the advantages of allowing motorcycles to use bus lanes as a way of easing accessibility and reducing vulnerability for motorcycle riders - without increasing the number of accidents.
"Unfortunately, biking still suffers from a committed band of individuals and organisations who perpetuate the myth that bikes in bus lanes are dangerous, with these people prepared to seize on any data to support their argument, no matter how spurious.
"It is unfortunate that the Minister Karen Buck did not check the data she was given to help answer a Parliamentary Question on the issue before becoming an unwitting agent of the anti motorcycle brigade. We expect far better from the Government, particularly as the Department for Transport is to review its own guidance on the issue. We also await with great interest the final report on the London experimental scheme."