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Bus lane baffles bikers

PUBLISHED: 11:04 17 April 2009 | UPDATED: 16:06 07 September 2010

Katie Davies POLITICIANS and motorcyclists have hit out at Camden Council for creating havoc on the roads by banning bikers from bus lanes, even though they are allowed to use them in Westminster and on Transport for London routes. Earlier in the year, Ca

Katie Davies

POLITICIANS and motorcyclists have hit out at Camden Council for creating havoc on the roads by banning bikers from bus lanes, even though they are allowed to use them in Westminster and on Transport for London routes.

Earlier in the year, Camden Council refused to allow motorcycles into the lanes alongside buses and cyclists, but Westminster and TfL approved it.

As a result, bikers say they have been left muddled about what they can do.

Motorcyclist Adi Tahiri, 30, travels through Camden and Westminster to work as an estate agent in Marylebone. He said: "We are not sure which roads we are allowed in and which roads we are not. If you miss the sign at the beginning of a lane you're left unsure whether you can use it or not, and councils are all just making money out of that.

"A fine for going into a bus lane costs £120 and it's all because people are confused.

"You don't want motorcyclists hesitating on the roads. Often I go into a bus lane and think, 'Maybe I shouldn't have' and you move out again quickly - it puts you in danger. The bus lanes should be open to motorcyclists everywhere."

In January, Mayor Boris Johnson approved bikers use of bus lanes with a pilot of 18 months to check safety standards were met. At that time, Camden Council decided not to follow his lead and to wait until the pilot was completed.

But London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden, Brian Coleman, says the confusion means Camden should change its rules now and has written to the Town Hall demanding action.

"It's time for Camden to step up a gear to improve the lives and safety of all its road users by finally allowing motorcycles to use its bus lane," he said.

"Transport for London, Westminster and other London boroughs have all recognised the road safety benefits of allowing motorcycles into bus lanes, which can reduce collisions by up to 42 per cent, yet Camden Council has refused to do so."

Other boroughs which have approved the scheme include Richmond and Kingston and others are considering making the change before the 18-month pilot is through.

However, cycling campaigners in Camden say they will keep fighting it from coming here. Jean Dollimore from the Camden Cycling Campaign said: "Motor-bikes frighten new people taking up cycling and bus lanes are really useful for cyclists and a safe way for them to travel on bigger roads.

"What Boris is doing is supposed to be a pilot - why not wait for the results before rushing in to allow it everywhere?"

Councillor for environment at Camden, Chris Knight, is himself a motorcyclist but said the council would wait until the 18 months were up.

"The confusion naturally follows and as a motorcyclist myself I don't appreciate the difficulties but we will wait to see the outcome of the pilot," he said. "Personally I can't see anything wrong with allowing motorcycles in bus lanes. My view is there is room for both.


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