MOTORCYCLE COMMUNITY WELCOMES DEBATE ON BIKES IN BUS LANES
April 28 2006.
The MCI and the motorcycle community have welcomed a debate, which took place this week in the House of Commons, on the opening of bus lanes for motorcycles. The debate, responded to by Minister for Transport Dr Stephen Ladyman MP, highlighted that there have been no negative effects caused by bikes in bus lanes and that unless there is any special reason Local Authorities should be permitting and encouraging this practical and safe use of bus lanes.
In some Local Authorities, including Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Peterborough and Essex motorcycles are already permitted to benefit from bus lanes and in some regions, bikes can use bus lanes in some counties but not in others.
There is no national, clear guidance on usage and, as a result, it is left to the discretion of each Local Authority. This recent political debate at Westminster has highlighted that bikes in bus lanes can have a positive impact on road safety and that unless there are any reasons, on the grounds of unsuitable road surfacing or other special reasons, then Local Authorities should follow the logic of  this debate and be more pro-active in allowing access to bus lanes for bikers.
The Transport for London study which is evaluating the use of bus lanes by motorcyclists in the city has, in their provisional report, found that it reduces the vulnerability of riders without affecting the vulnerability of other road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.
Transport Minister, Dr Ladyman, observed that bikes in bus lanes have many positive benefits and that it can help to make motorcycling a more mainstream form of transport as stated in the Government's own Motorcycling Strategy.
MCI's Craig Carey-Clinch said, " This debate is fantastic news for road safety. We know there are many successful schemes across the UK that have permitted bikes in bus lanes and we expect to see this grow. It is imperative that Local Authorities are aware that this simple measure can help to create a safer environment for all road users.
"The MCI urges all authorities to act on this advice and expand the use of bus lanes and help to mainstream motorcycling which has a very important role to play in traffic management and can help to reduce congestion."
Simon Wilkinson-Blake, theBMF's Chief Executive added, "This debate is welcome news for the riding community and we expect that it should help pave the way for safer roads for bikers. The BMF is pleased that the Transport Minister is supportive and that the issue of bikes in bus lanes has prompted genuine political debate, which we hope will influence Local Authorities to take action soon."