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BMF Calls for Bus Lane Clarity not Penalty

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This year’s opening up some of London’s bus lanes to motorcycles has been a welcome development says the British Motorcyclists Federation, but experience over the first four months has shown many riders have incurred penalty notices through inadvertently using ‘closed’ bus lanes.


The BMF, instrumental in persuading Mayor Boris Johnson that opening up London’s bus lanes to motorcyclists would improve safety, say that because the only bus lanes opened up are on those ‘red routes’ governed by Transport for London (TfL), this has caused confusion amongst motorcycle users, especially newcomers to the system.


With the other bus lane routes under the control of London’s 33 local councils not being open to motorcyclists, bus lanes can change designation, sometimes on the same stretch of road, without riders always being aware, say the BMF.


The Old Street roundabout for example, has the bus lane on one side open to motorcycles, while on the other side it is not. Also the A5 changes several times along its length, as does the Euston Road.


The BMF have unsuccessfully tried to determine from the councils involved the level of infringement recorded, but from reports received from members, it is a significant problem.


The BMF is now proposing that:


TfL should take control of all of London’s bus lanes
Recognise a bus lane’s strategic importance and make them all red routes
The BMF say that this is a logical extension of TfL’s management of, and responsibility for, London’s bus service as a whole and it is therefore nonsense to split bus lane designations in this way.


Note 1:In March 2007 the Government issued a new Traffic Advisory Leaflet (TAL02/07) to Local Authorities that specifically encouraged a more objective assessment to be made of bus lane use by motorcycles.


Note 2: Existing Bus lane access sites: Bristol has operated a permanent bus lane access since 1996 and Reading since 1999. Other sites are in: Northern Ireland, Birmingham, Colchester, Derby, Bath, Hull, Swindon, Richmond on Thames, Newcastle on Tyne, Sunderland, Plymouth and the M4 bus lane. Still being trialled in London are the Finchley Road (A41) at St John's Wood to Hampstead, the A23 to the South and A13 to the East.

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