Cyclists concerns as motorbikes move into bus lanes

PUBLISHED: 14:32 08 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:47 07 September 2010

CYCLISTS are condemning a decision to allow motorbikes alongside them in Camden s bus lanes as dangerous. Transport for London s 18-month trial fulfils one of London Mayor Boris Johnson s election pledges. It means that bikers can now use the bus lanes on

CYCLISTS are condemning a decision to allow motorbikes alongside them in Camden's bus lanes as dangerous.

Transport for London's 18-month trial fulfils one of London Mayor Boris Johnson's election pledges.

It means that bikers can now use the bus lanes on red routes including Camden High Street, Camden Road, Euston Road and Hampstead Lane and Finchley Road, where a similar scheme has been running for several years.

On Monday, Camden Cycling Campaign co-ordinator Jean Dollimore led a protest against the experiment, calling for it to end immediately.

She said: "Cyclists look to use bus lanes as a haven. Motorbikes are faster and less predictable than buses and they can frighten even the most experienced cyclists.

"One of TfL's objectives is to get more people to cycle but this trial isn't going to help achieve that."

Figures collected from the Road Casualties of Great Britain show that motorbikes are more likely to be involved in collisions than cars and are three times as likely to kill, she said.

"TfL didn't consult on this and they think they can get away with doing this trial for 18 months," she added.

She is now calling on cyclists to write directly to Mr Johnson to tell him of any bad experiences they have as a result of motorcyclists using the bus lanes.

TfL bosses have defended the trial, saying a code of practice for the safe use of bus lanes by motorcyclists has been put together by the motorcycle industry.

Mr Johnson said: "Motorcyclists are already using bus lanes safely in many cities and parts of London - so I have long thought we should give this a go on the red routes.

"The new code of practice shows that motorcyclists are taking the privilege seriously and I am confident that all bikers - whether pedal or powered - will do a terrific job of sharing our bus lanes safely."

Conservative councillor for Hampstead Chris Knight, a motorcyclist, said: "Motorcyclists are very vulnerable - often more so than cyclists in many cases.

"I think they get labelled in a bad light quite often which is unfair. Of course I support cyclists as well - but I think all road users should be given the opportunity for greater safety and I think this trial deserves a go."

Barnet and Camden Assembly member Brian Coleman added: "This is excellent news for motorcyclists and for all of London's road users. Not only will it mean that people on motorbikes will be able to get around London quicker but also pilot studies have shown that, where bus lanes have been shared between buses, bicycles and motorcyclists, accident rates have actually fallen."

But cyclist Jane Seal, of Agar Grove, said: "It doesn't sound like a brilliant idea. It is nice to be safely in a bus lane without motorcyclists but I guess we'll get used to it."

Fellow cyclist Marty Celeste, of Camden Road, said: "Motorcyclists are extremely dangerous to cyclists. They weave in and out. They're fuel inefficient, noisy and typically ridden by aggressive louts. They should be cleared from our roads."

And Shafiq Rahman, a bus driver on the 31 route along both Finchley Road and Camden Road, said: "Motorbikes are very fast and come from nowhere. If they look after themselves and we look after ourselves everything should be OK. But if not, they are going to harm themselves. I think they shouldn't be on bus lanes. It'll just lead to more accidents.

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