Bus Lanes London England

There is delight in London from riders groups in the UK and the Motorcycle Industry (MCI) regarding Transport for London’s (TFL) recent announcement, on the 21st December 2011, to give motorcyclists permanent access to bus lanes on the majority of the Capital’s red routes from 23 January 2012.


The BMF (British Motorcyclists Federation) says, “as a long term campaigner for the use of bus lanes by motorcyclists, that despite London’s years of reports and investigations, the TfL decision only bares out what Bristol had decided sixteen years ago when after a two year trial they formally opened up their bus lanes to motorcycles on a permanent basis way back in 1996”.

Giving a quick history the BMF outline this by telling us that numerous trials first started in 2002, with several other towns and cities followed and in 2007 the Government issued a Traffic Advisory Leaflet (TAL02/07) to Local Authorities that specifically encouraged a more objective assessment to be made of bus lane use by motorcycles.

In February 2008 the BMF met with the then mayoral candidate Boris Johnston to discuss bus lane access. He said that if elected he would want to see bus lanes opened up to motorcycles, a commitment that the BMF is pleased to see he has kept.

However the BMF is still concerned that these bus lanes are only those on routes controlled by TfL, i.e. the Transport for London Route Network (TLRN) ‘red routes’ such as the main A1 and A4 thoroughfares. Nevertheless the BMF sees TfL’s decision as a key one in helping to persuade other authorities to open up their bus lanes without further trails.

Especially as (TfL) say that while the safety of motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users has proved to be unaffected, the opening up of bus lanes helps to reduce journey times for motorcyclists, reduces carbon dioxide emissions and achieves a key strand in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy.

*Note: Bus Lane use by motorcycles is already successfully employed in numerous European cities while in the UK bus lane access has been allowed in Bristol since 1996 and Reading since 1999. Other bus lane sites are in: Northern Ireland, Birmingham, Colchester, Derby, Bath, Hull, Swindon, Richmond on Thames, Newcastle on Tyne, Sunderland and Plymouth.



Dr Leon Mannings, MAG’s (Motorcycle Action Group) Transport Policy Advisor – said, “The decision to make Powered Two Wheeler access to most of TfL’s bus lanes a permanent measure is a triumph of evidence-led policy development”.

Mannings has been closely involved with developments in TfL trials of the Motorbikes in Bus Lanes concept since 2004.



The MCI (Motor Cycle Industry) says it has been at the forefront of calls to continue to allow access throughout the completion of two trials which began back in June 2009 and has been working with TfL and other local authorities for over 15 years on the bikes in bus lanes issue.

The MCI is also urging all riders using bus lanes to continue to ride responsibly in accordance with the Code of Conduct. Adding this is great news for motorcycling and its ability to beat urban congestion, and it is hoped that TfL’s decision will encourage other metropolitan boroughs to follow their lead.


Back Roads Rider

Meanwhile over at the Back Roads Rider in its usual style of unique insight, ”sense of humour and sometimes obtuse views”, the blog reports.

Within hours of Transport for London (TfL) announcing that motorcyclists and scooterists would have permanent access to bus lanes on the TfL Road network the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) hit back.

From LCC Chief Executive Ashok Sinha, “Cyclists and motorcyclists are both especially vulnerable to bad road policies; TfL’s action does nothing to reduce danger for either group.” From LCC’s road danger expert Charlie Lloyd , “The overwhelming conclusion from the latest bus lane trial is, yet again, that there are no safety benefits. The results of this trial should act as a warning to other authorities not to risk allowing motorcycles in bus lanes”.

Meanwhile out in the real world a poll carried out by TfL, as part of the first bus lane trial, revealed that the majority of the 600 cyclists asked had no issues with motorcyclists or scooterists using bus lanes. Strangely this poll received little publicity at the time. When the grass-roots opinion does not support the lobby and there’s a whiff of co-operative spirit simple ignore it. Political agenda’s rule!

…………….don’t forget to raise a glass to all the UK Motorcycle Action Group and British Motorcyclists Federation un paid activists and poorly paid lobbyists who worked tirelessly for more than 40 years to get us into TfL’s London’s bus lanes.

At BRR we know some of the names, we also know that some have died while waiting, we salute you. An over used word but heroes springs to mind. And to the vastly overpaid public relations lobbyists at the UK Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) we offer very grudging thanks.

To the johnny-come-latelies who have spent the last week on the social media claiming it’s all down to them, well we fart in your general direction! While hoping you are right that this “is the start of a new era for motorcycling policy development at local and central government level”. See you in the Mayors office, always a good idea to know who you are sitting next too!



The TfL announcement, report and route maps (which bus lanes can be used by motorcycles) can be found at: Click Here

Bus Lane Information on Right To Ride EU – Click Here


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