Edinburgh Bus Lanes

magbmfbuslanesaug2014The BMF (British Motorcyclists Federation) and MAG (Motorcycle Action Group) are reporting a victory because of the introduction of a trial in Edinburgh to allow bus lane access for motorcyclists.

The BMF full report states that, “Ken Glendinning of BMF and Steve Wykes of Edinburgh MAG have been working, tirelessly with officers and councillors of Edinburgh city council for around ten years to achieve a trial of full city-wide motorcycle access to the Bus lanes.

At a meeting of Edinburgh city council’s Transport & Environment committee councillors voted to accept a trial period of eighteen months beginning in June 2015, with a review after nine months.

This was in spite of attempts by Green party and Liberal Democrat members to reduce the trial period to six months, citing “speeding” concerns.

Ken of the BMF and Steve of MAG are rightfully delighted with the outcome and many riders will be keen to thank them for their unrelenting dedication to this cause.”

Before the announcement Councillor Lesley Hinds, Transport Convener, said: “Having heard from motorcycle users during our review, we’re minded to start a trial of allowing motorcycles to use bus lanes in Edinburgh.

“Given the relatively small proportion of motorcycles on Edinburgh’s roads and the fact that motorcyclists themselves believe using bus lanes would make their journeys both safer and quicker, we think this change should have little or no impact on other bus lane users. We’ll keep this under close review throughout the trial, of course, before any decision is taken to make this arrangement permanent.”

In a report submitted by the Transport and Environment Committee – Bus Lane Network Review – stated that,”This report summarises the main issues and findings of the review and makes a number of recommendations, including undertaking trials changing all-day bus lanes, into peak periods bus lanes and allowing motorcycles to access with-flow bus lanes.

The exact recommendations states, “approves the promotion of an 18 month Experimental Traffic Regulation Order to trial allowing motorcycles access to with-flow bus lanes during their operational hours.”

The report further states that, “Police Scotland was supportive of allowing motorcycles into bus lanes. Replies received from SPOKES, some taxi and bus operators, including First, indicated that they were against allowing motorcycles into bus lanes. Lothian Buses do not have any opposition to motorcycles using bus lanes.”

If the trial is successful, a TRO (Traffic Regulation Order) to make the change permanent could then be promoted within the 18 month life of the ETRO, which may avoid the need to temporarily revert back to excluding motorcycles from bus lanes.

As part of the statutory ETRO (Experiential Traffic Regulation Order) process, the trials to change all-day bus lanes into peak periods lanes and to allow motorcycles access to with-flow bus lanes will be formally advertised, to allow any interested party to comment or object to the proposals.”

Well done to both organisations for working hard to achieve this win and we at Right To Ride hope that the outcome will be as successful as what is available here in Belfast and the rest of the province where there is  permanent access to bus lanes for motorcyclists.

Bus Lane Network Review – Click Here

Original Sources – BMF – Click Here – Article from the City of Edinburgh Council – Click Here

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  1. Bikes go green in Edinburgh

    MAG warmly welcomes the decision by Edinburgh Council at their Transport Infrastructure and Environment Committee meeting on the 26th August 2014 to finally permit a trial of access for Motorcycles and Scooters in their with flow bus-lanes.

    The first Authority in Scotland to do so.

    The Motorcycle Acton Group (MAG) is delighted to see that Edinburgh City Council is taking this great step forward after productive discussions that were spurred into new life by a wide-ranging review of its transport policies over a year ago.

    MAG regional Rep, Steve Wykes says; ” It’s very heartening to see that the City’s Transport Infrastucture and Environment Committee have endorsed a move that has proved to be a great success in safety and environmental terms in many other cities in the UK.”

    MAG’s Transport Policy Adviser, Dr Leon Mannings, adds: “It has been good to see such a genuine commitment to evidence based policy development in Edinburgh. And, to see the extensive amount of evidence that we provided has been duly considered as it clearly shows that the safety of cyclists and motorcyclists is improved – as is the efficiency of road use and corresponding reductions in pollution and journey times.”

    The trial is scheduled to start in June 2015 and run for a period of nine months under the auspices of ETRO (Experimental Traffic Regulation Order). At which point a report will be prepared to determine the effect of permitting access for PTW’s and a decision will be made as to whether the measure will be made permanent.

    Here are links to the documents:

    Click Here

    Click Here

    The campaign to allow bikes in bus-lanes has spanned many years with the earliest demonstrations coinciding with the introduction of Greenways (Bus lanes) into the city in 1997/98. Further demonstration taking place sporadically over the years, as the weight of evidence indicating that permitting bikes access to bus-lanes does not adversely affect other users already granted access, increased.

    Notable successes along the way included a run where members of the Transport committee including the deputy convenor of the time Ken Harold were treated to a riders perspective of some of the hazards we face as riders.

    While this increased awareness opposition from within the transport department and among some councillors and the police prevented a change in the status quo.

    The next significant step followed a joint MAG and BMF demo run to Holyrood in 2009 after which regular meetings with Councillor Stuart McIvor who was supportive of our aims increased the impetus, but still fell foul of opposition at committee stage.

    Finally in April 2014 doubtless at least in part as a result of access to bus-lanes in London and the recognition of the environmental benefits by TfL, a review of access to Bus-lanes in Edinburgh was initiated.

    Comprehensive submissions both from MAG and the BMF and an explanation of the rational for granting access made to the Edinburgh Transport Forum helped minimise opposition and the recommendation was passed overwhelmingly, with minor dissent from the Greens and one Lib Dem Councillor.

    All in all a victory for motorcyclists and common sense, in giving us a chance to prove that we can play a part in helping reduce congestion and emissions, without adversely affecting safety of other vulnerable road users and enhancing our safety. Though we will need to ensure that riders do not take access for granted, consider the needs of other users, and do not abuse the privilege of being allowed to use bus-lanes.

    Lastly I would like to thank Cllr. Lesley Hinds Chair of the Transport Infrastructure and Environment Committee for her support, Ken Glendinning and his colleagues in the BMF for their efforts, members of Edinburgh MAG and West Lothian MAG for their support over the years and invaluable contributions From Dr Leon Mannings and John Mitchell in providing our evidence based submissions.

    Ride Free
    Steve Wykes
    Regional Rep
    Motorcycle Action Group Scotland