Motorbikes to be Allowed in Bus Lanes

Ealing borough to trial scheme for 18 months

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Ealing motorcyclists are to benefit from a new project to open up the borough’s bus lanes to bikers.

The Council’s Cabinet last night agreed to an 18-month trial scheme to allow motorbikes to use Ealing Council’s bus lanes to see whether it helps to reduce congestion. The trial will coincide with a similar scheme announced by London Mayor Boris Johnson last month, which will allow bikers to use those bus lanes operated by Transport for London (TfL) on red routes. That will mean motorcyclists will be free to use all bus lanes across the borough from January 2009.

Research will be carried out to monitor the scheme’s impact on congestion and road safety, including looking at the affect on cyclists. If it is successful the change will be made permanent.

Councillor David Millican, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, said: “There’s a whole network of bus lanes stretching across the borough. It seems much more sensible to allow motorbikes to use those lanes to help them get through traffic more quickly without having to weave between cars. We’ll be carrying out research throughout the 18-month period to see what impact the scheme has.”

The use of bus lanes by motorbikes has caused concern for cyclist groups who claim it will further increase their risk on the road. However, lobby groups for motorcyclists claim that previous trials of this kind of scheme have had no impact on pedal cyclist safety.

The Cabinet also agreed new criteria that all bus lanes will have to meet. The criteria will be used to review the effectiveness of the borough’s bus lanes to ensure that each one is needed and does not reduce total capacity on the borough’s roads. The review will include ensuring each bus lane is clearly signed and is only in operation within a standard set of times.

The Cabinet decision is subject to call-in for a period of five working days from the date of publication of the minutes of the meeting.

A spokesman for Hounslow Council said, "TfL are piloting the scheme on their road network and we'll be keeping an eye on that to see if it's something that would be suitable for our road network."


November 13, 2008