London: 18 month trial for Motorcyclists in Bus/Cycle Lanes from 2009
Though other countries in Europe often have better transport systems in place such as more off road cycle paths and more trams, Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has agreed to allow motorcyclists in bus lane from January.
Now cyclists already have to put with up with leisure vehicles, company vans, dustcarts and many other types of vehicle, regularly, and illegally using the bus and cycle lanes during the times they are excluded, they now have to face even more traffic from motorcyclists, often speeding, on these lanes. The dangers worsening as the British weather becomes icer in January or if there are road works narrowing the roads or even cars parked on the bus/cycle lane blocking the flow. The added problem of some motorcyclists drinking over the limit is unlikely to help matters much.
Hit and runs have regularly been in the press. Now how will a cyclist be protected if a motorcyclist hit them and runs off? What would happen if a motorcyclist skidded on ice or rainwater and collided with the cyclist? An accident often brings a paultry fine, yet the cyclist could have died in it. Is it any wonder cyclists don't want any more dangerous traffic on these roads, when they don't have enough protection from them?
It will be interesting to have some views from both sides on this issue and perhaps some stories on other countries are dealing with this.
"From the BBC (27/10/08): "Motorcycles will be allowed to use the majority of the capital's bus lanes, London Mayor Boris Johnson has said.
From 5 January, motorcyclists will able to ride in the lanes for an 18-month trial period.
Transport for London (TfL) said it hoped the measure would cut accident rates and traffic in the capital.
Pedal cyclists, who already use the lanes, have been against the proposals claiming it would not improve safety or reduce congestion.
The change will only apply to TfL bus lanes.
Motorcyclists have been advised to make sure they know which lanes are open to them.
Mr Johnson, said: "I have long been staggered that while motorcyclists can use bus lanes in many other cities and some of our boroughs they were not allowed to use the TfL routes that criss-cross the capital.
"One of the ways we can ease congestion is by encouraging more people to get on their bike, whether pedal or powered, and I believe they should be able to share our bus lanes successfully and safely. "
The idea was one of Mr Johnson's manifesto pledges, and in June this year the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) presented the mayor with a 3,000-name petition asking him to reconsider the plans.
In a letter to the mayor, LCC's chief executive Koy Thomson said: "While we would support measures to make motorcycling safer, such as a 20mph speed limit, there is no clear environmental, safety or congestion reason for allowing motorcycles into bus lanes."
Jeff Stone, of the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF), said allowing motorcycles in bus lanes would make it safer "for all vulnerable road users".