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Industry Welcomes New London Bikes in Bus Lanes Trial and Urges Responsible Road Use

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As a part of the Transport for London (TfL) trial assessing the suitability of motorcycles in bus lanes, the Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI) is calling on all road users, particularly car drivers to act responsibly and be aware of motorcycles and bicycles in bus lanes. ~

In partnership with TfL, the MCI is also launching an updated Code of Conduct for motorcyclists who use bus lanes.

The Code offers sound advice on how to use bus lanes and the update covers the etiquette that riders should observe in order to protect themselves and respect cyclists, pedestrians and other road users. An earlier 18-month experiment was carried out to see if motorcycles could use bus lanes permanently, in order to improve accessibility for motorcycle users, tackle road safety and reduce congestion.

The trial found benefits for motorcyclists using bus lanes, including shorter journey times and reduced emissions. Unfortunately motorcycle casualty rates increased during the course of the trial and an analysis by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) revealed that this was primarily due to cars pulling out of side turnings on bus lane roads, or turning across bus lanes. This was combined with excessive speed by some riders, who were then unable to avoid cars which crossed their paths.

The problem appears to insufficient car driver attention being paid to the presence of vulnerable road users in bus lanes, as, as the TRL research also revealed that the same problem experienced by motorcyclists is occurring for cyclists, with a number of cycle collisions taking place with cars.

Cycle collisions were not attributed to the presence of motorcycles in bus lanes and half of all cyclists support having motorcycles in bus lanes. 80% of cyclists said that motorcycles in bus lanes made no difference to their journey choice.

The MCI and TfL are now working to make car drivers more aware of motorcyclists in bus lanes as part of the new experiment, which began in July.

Steve Kenward, MCI's CEO said: "Allowing motorcycles to use bus lanes is a positive step towards improving transport accessibility for London citizens. Access to bus lanes helps to increase accessibility on the overall road space and improve their visibility.

"Cycling has been shown to coexist safely with motorcycling in bus lanes, but now there is a different issue to address, namely the interaction of car users with bus lanes and their effect on cycle and motorcycle safety.
"However, it cannot be denied that many collisions could have been avoided if riders who were involved had moderated their speed and ridden more defensively while in bus lanes. Once again, we are faced with a shared responsibility issue - the need for cars to look out for bikes and for motorcyclists to be more aware of their speed choice and the road environment around them.

"MCI is delighted to be working with TfL on the issue of motorcycles and bus lanes and looks forward to continuing to develop and support best practice policies in relation to motorcycling in London."

Lilli Matson, Head of Modal Policy at Transport for London, said: "TfL is happy to support the revised Code of Conduct. Improving safety is a key issue for the new trial and it is important that motorcyclists get the message that they need to look out for road safety hazards far more than they do at present. It is also equally important that other road users look out for motorcyclists and cyclists in bus lanes."

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