Bus lane trial results in more motorcyclist collisions

Motorcyclists’ collisions have increased as a result of the Transport for London trial of allowing motorbikes (including scooters and mopeds) to use bus lanes on red route roads.

The overall conclusion of the independent study for TfL states that: “motorcyclists appear to be less safe since the scheme has been introduced.”

The report also says, “The main effect of putting motorcycles into bus lanes has been that the number of them involved in collisions has increased.”

The report notes that “The rate at which motorcyclists were involved in collisions on the Main sites increased by 33% and decreased by 50.7% on the Control sites. This suggests that overall the main sites had a higher collision risk for motorcycles due to the use of bus lanes.”

It also says that “the percentage increase in motorcyclists involved in collisions in (bus lane) operational hours was 27% compared to 15% overall. Therefore, motorcycle safety appears to have particularly been adversely affected in operational hours when they were observed to have generally increased their use of the bus lanes.”

Despite these findings which show a regrettable increase in road danger Transport for London says it intends to extend the trial.

London Cycling Campaign’s Chief Executive, Koy Thomson, said “Putting motorcyclists in bus lanes was supposed to improve safety for road users but independent analysis of the London trial shows this measure has unfortunately increased danger to motorcyclists in particular.  In light of the findings the Mayor should stop the trial rather than permit an increase in road danger and more casualties on our roads.”

The report also found that there was “an increase in pedestrian collisions with motorcycles, however the number injured was not particularly large.” It noted that “there was some evidence that cycle collision rates had increased” but says that these “appeared to be unrelated to the presence of motorcycles in bus lanes.” 

The full report can be found at http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/MIBL-report-2010.pdf

Note to editors

  • More than 4000 people signed an LCC petition before the Motorbikes in Bus Lanes trial started asking the Mayor not to go ahead with it.
  • The trial started on the 5th of  January 2009 – it was due to end on the 5th of July 2010
  • TfL Primary Evaluation criteria for the trial were: Casualty/collision rates for 28 routes in the trial subject to detailed monitoring against 28 control routes; Casualty/collision numbers for all routes in the trial.