Easy Rider

Uxbridge Road bus lanes opened up to bikers

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A three-year trial allowing motorbikes and scooters to use Uxbridge Road’s bus lanes is underway.


The trial, which began on 5 January to coincide with a similar trial being run by Transport for London, means the two-wheeled vehicles will have unrestricted access to the bus lanes on Uxbridge Road - between Askew Road and Wood Lane - 24-hours a day.


The three-year scheme aims to reduce the number of accidents involving motorbikes on Uxbridge Road where, over the past three years, motorbikes have been involved in 30 accidents on the stretch between Askew Road and Wood Lane and four people have been seriously injured.


Councillor Nicholas Botterill, deputy leader of H&F Council and cabinet member for environment, said the scheme was all about road safety: “This trial ties in with TfL’s own across London and aims to make our roads safer for all motorists and bike riders. We will be monitoring the situation closely and hopefully it will help to cut the number of motorbike and scooter accidents on the roads without disrupting buses and cyclists."


However, John Griffiths of the Hammersmith and Fulham branch of the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) said he could see a number of potential problems with the scheme: “An advantage of bus lanes is that it allows cyclists a fairly safe space. One problem I see is that motorcyclists will have at times a long clear stretch ahead of them and will go at a high speed. This will be frightening for cyclists they pass.


“Another problem may be when they are competing for space trying to pass a stationary bus. Motorbikes will be making more noise close to the pedestrian space, and this should be monitored,” he said.

Elsewhere in the borough, bikers are also now allowed to make use of the bus lanes on Fulham Palace Road.


Last June, the LCC presented London Mayor Boris Johnson with a 3,000-name petition asking him to reconsider his plans to open up the capital's bus lanes to bikers. However, the plan is one of Johnson’s election pledges.

Launching the capital-wide trial he said: "I have long been staggered that while motorcyclists can use bus lanes in many other cities and some of our boroughs they were not allowed to use the TfL routes that criss-cross the capital.

"One of the ways we can ease congestion is by encouraging more people to get on their bike, whether pedal or powered, and I believe they should be able to share our bus lanes successfully and safely."

The British Motorcyclists’ Federation said it had campaigned for bikers to be able to use bus lane use for over fifteen years. “We’re pleased that years of steady and persistent campaigning have at last borne fruit. A TfL report proved the safety benefits of motorcycles using bus lanes and now it’s up to motorcyclists to use them sensibly,” said the BMF’s Government Relations Executive Chris Hodder.

14 January 2009