Learner riders face ban from two major bridges and 23-mile detour

‘It feels like we’re being forced off the road’

LEARNER motorcyclists face a 23-mile detour on their daily commute thanks to a decision to ban them from two major bridges providing access to Edinburgh.

Motorway status for a new Firth of Forth crossing will exclude all learners from using it. Meanwhile the existing Forth Road Bridge will become a ‘dedicated public transport corridor’, closed to any bikes bigger than mopeds. 

As a result, learner riders of machines between 50 and 125cc will not be able to use either the Forth Road Bridge or the new Queensferry Crossing. Those commuting from Dunfermline to Edinburgh will face a 23-mile detour west to Kincardine after the Queensferry Crossing opens in 2016.

Bus driver and learner motorcyclist Andrew Wright, 44, from Inverkeithing, just north of the Forth Road Bridge, told the Dunfermline Press: ‘It’s absolute nonsense. My standard 30-mile-per-day journey will be at least three times longer and something that currently takes me 30 minutes to drive will now treble to 90 minutes. My fuel bill will treble and so will my maintenance costs, not to mention my current carbon footprint.’

‘But it’s not just about me, it’s about every learner driver and it’s something that is going to affect thousands, mostly people in Fife.

‘A ridiculous scenario is someone who earns minimum wage in McDonalds in South Queensferry but stays in Rosyth, a seven-minute bike ride away, will now have to go via Kincardine to get to and from work.

‘It feels like we’re being forced off the road and it’s a massive problem which I think has gone under the radar because nobody seemed to know about it or there would have been objections. Any learner driver should be able to use it and pressure needs to be applied to make this happen.’

A spokeswoman for Transport Scotland said: ‘As the Queensferry Crossing is to be a motorway, the policy for the Forth Road Bridge set out in the Policy Memorandum (in particular paragraph 26) supporting the Forth Crossing Bill, was that it would become a dedicated public transport corridor for buses and taxis, together with pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycles less than 50cc - that class of motorcycle not being permitted on motorways. Other motorcycles are permitted on motorways.

‘In setting the policy, it was considered that to make particular exception for other motorcycles and vehicles displaying a learner driver plate would open the Forth Road Bridge to wider use, and would not be in keeping with its proposed designation as a public transport corridor. No objections to the Forth Crossing Bill were received in relation to the proposed policy regarding motorcycles and the Forth Crossing Bill was passed in full view of the policy set out in the Policy Memorandum.’