More danger from motorbikes in London bus lanes until 2012

photo Despite an increase in casualties the mayor has extended the motorbikes in bus lanes trial to 2012


The repeat Experimental Traffic Order to extend the trial allowing motorcycles in bus lanes comes into force on Saturday 24 July 2010.

The first experiment ended on 5 July 2010, with strong evidence showing that more motorcycles used the routes, and there were more casualties.

More casualties

During the trial, motorcycles went faster, with an increase of 10% in the proportion breaking the speed limit. Not surprisingly the casualty rate for motorcyclists increased by a third and serious casualties increased even more.

The casualty rate increased significantly for cyclists sharing with motorcycles in those bus lanes that were selected for detailed analysis. The number of cyclists in collisions, though low overall, tripled compared with before the trial, whereas in control sites the increase was small.

Across the whole TLRN road network in London, cycling casualties decreased, but this occurred at a lower rate in bus lanes with motorcycles in them.

Experiment repeated

Transport for London has already issued a repeat Experimental Traffic Order allowing motorcycles to continue to use bus lanes on the Mayor's roads until January 2012. The order was issued on 8 July 2010, coming into force on 24 July.

LCC and other cycling organisations were not informed of the new traffic order until the week after it was issued. Not even the motorcycle lobby is happy with the lack of consultation over these changes.

It is not clear why TfL has rushed to repeat the trial, giving no time for proper consultation about the increased danger caused by the first trial.

The extra casualties will make it harder for London boroughs to achieved their road safety targets. As yet TfL has not published details of its consultation on the first trial, nor its response to it.

Safety Measures

During the new trial, TfL will take measures to reduce casualties with education campaigns and speed enforcement. It is not clear how these measures will differ from what has failed before.

LCC campaigns officer Charlie Lloyd said, "It seems pointless to begin another trial before they have begun to implement the safety measures they are meant to be testing.

"Rather than admit that the trial dramatically failed to produce any safety benefit, they have prioritised faster traffic."

Pollution and noise targets at risk

The superficial environmental analysis of the previous trial failed to account for the impact of extra motorcycles and ignored the pollution increase from more speeding. No consideration was given to health impacts from increased noise from motorcycles.