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Cycles in London’s Bus Lanes

On the cycling theme for a moment, I’m wondering what the thinking is out there about London’s trial for motorcycles in the bus lanes (where pedal cyclists currently dwell). We’ll have to wait and see the results of the trial, but it brings up some interesting inter-modal issues. Will this really pose no risk to cyclists, as TFL claims, or would that risk be smaller than the risk posed to motorcyclists by cars? What about the increased emissions in the path of cyclists? Is there sort of thing standard elsewhere? How well do pedal and motor cycles intermingle — what about speed differences (motorcycles tend to attract much more risk-seeking users, at higher speeds, with predictable results)?

On the last point, did you know more U.S. Marines have been killed on motorcycles in the past 12 months than in Iraq?

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This entry was posted on Thursday, November 6th, 2008 at 12:41 pm and is filed under Cities, Congestion, Cyclists, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “Cycles in London’s Bus Lanes”

  1. leeg Says:

    In other British cities such as Bristol, Bath and Swindon, motorcycles and cyclists are already both allowed in the bus lanes.

  2. Carlton Reid Says:

    In Newcastle on Tyne, UK, the bus lanes are called ‘no car lanes’. So, lorries, vans, taxis, and motorbikes use these lanes.

    What category is an SUV? Mini-bus? Van? In Newcastle, SUVs certainly aren’t cars!

    Regarding motorbikes in London’s bus lanes, the CTC is dead against it. There’s a story on their opposition in the current BikeBiz magazine, now available here http://issuu.com/intentmedia/docs/bb34_low_res (couldn’t find anything on CTC.org.uk

    The London Cycling Campaign is also up in arms: http://www.lcc.org.uk/index.asp?PageID=1215

    ‘Course, Boris Johnson – London Mayor – is a cyclist so maybe once he gets buzzed by a motorbike in a bus lane he’ll see it’s not such a good idea?

    However, he’s not been terribly pro-cycling so far, perhaps fearing a media backlash if he favoured cycling over other forms of transport.

    In his politically incorrect days he wasn’t so circumspect: http://quickrelease.tv/?p=656

  3. Peter Says:

    motorcyclists should be allowed to ride where bicyclists ride when they are on bicycles.

  4. David Hembrow Says:

    Having cycled for decades in the UK before moving over here to civilization, and having shared lanes with buses and motorcycles, I have to say that I find buses are a bigger problem than motorcycles. They’re larger and about the same width as the lane. This leads to the drivers trying to pass where there simply isn’t room.

    Motorcyclists, on the other hand, are at least fellow two-wheeled travellers. Some of their number are irresponsible, but in general I find them not to be a problem.

    However, mixing cyclists with either motorcycles or buses is basically a bad idea. Either reduces the subjective safety of cyclists, and leads to less cycling. The UK already has one of the lowest cycling rates in the world because the conditions for cycling simply are not pleasant.

    If more people are to be encouraged to cycle then cyclists need to be looked after and given space within which it is pleasant to cycle. Mixing with faster and heavier vehicles does not achieve this.

  5. Carlton Reid Says:

    David

    What about ‘brommers’, those very fast scooter things? When I cycled in the Netherlands with my young family last year, those things used to scare us silly.

    Some Dutch bike lanes seemed to let them in, others didn’t.

  6. David Hembrow Says:

    Bromfietsen are limited to quite a low speed, and are a small part of the traffic overall. How small depends where you live – here there are very few of them. It’s a demographic thing. They’re mostly ridden by old grannies very carefully, but in some places you’ll find quite a lot of youths have them.

    They are generally not allowed on urban cycle paths, but also because of their slowness they are not allowed on interurban roads, so then they are allowed on the cycle paths.

    When I first visited the Netherlands I found them a nuisance, but I think that was lack of familiarity more than anything else. I find in practice that I encounter them rarely and the riders are usually polite.

    In contrast to drivers of cars, riders of bromfietsen are likely to come off as badly as any pedestrian or cyclist they might happen to have a collision with.

    The Netherlands is _very_ safe place to cycle. In fact, a very safe place to live in general. Even in Amsterdam, the busiest place and where there are a relatively large number of brommers, they don’t really feature in the bike accident deaths as you’ll see here:

    http://www.tobysterling.net/2007/12/bike-accident-deaths-in-amsterdam-and.html

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