Open all London bus lanes to motorcyclists, says report

Inconsistency causes confusion and motorcycle safety is overlooked, London Assembly tells TfL

BUS lanes should be consistently open to motorcyclists across the capital to improve safety, according to a report by the London Assembly Transport Committee.

Currently bus lanes on major routes controlled by Transport for London are open to motorcyclists while many managed by individual boroughs are not.

The committee says that causes unnecessary confusion and is calling on TfL to take a more ‘proactive’ approach to ensuring all London bus lanes are open to motorcyclists.

The recommendation follows an investigation by the committee which also concluded motorcycle safety had been overlooked.

Researchers surveyed 1,200 riders along with road safety experts, industry representatives and training providers. The results identified ‘priority areas for the Mayor and TfL to focus on if significant progress is to be made to reduce casualties’.

The report – called ‘Easy Rider: Improving motorcycle safety on London roads’ – also calls for close monitoring of London’s Cycle Superhighway to assess the impact on other vulnerable road users and road space.

It says more work is needed to encourage young motorcyclists to take part in police BikeSafe rider training courses.

A spokesperson for the committee said: ‘The inconsistency across London in access to bus lanes for motorcyclists causes unnecessary confusion. TfL allows motorcyclists to ride in bus lanes on the roads it manages, but many boroughs restrict access on their own roads. A more proactive strategy is required from TfL to help ensure a common approach across the city.’

Committee chair Valerie Shawcross said: ‘Arguably motorcyclists have been overlooked in public discussion about road safety in recent years. However, 36 motorcyclists were killed on London’s roads last year, a death toll that is unacceptably high, and part of a bigger picture of collisions and injuries affecting motorcyclists, many of them life changing in their seriousness.’

Leon Daniels, TfL's managing director of surface transport, said: ‘On-street education and enforcement, substantial investment in improving rider skills and guidance to help engineers design roads so that they are safer for riders, all form part of a concerted effort to improve road safety in the capital.’

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