If you don’t live in London, well you probably don’t know, but Transport For London (TFL) has been operating a scheme for some while, allowing motorcycles to use Bus Lanes and its 18 month trial is due to come to an end on 5th July this year, however the “Motor Cycle Industry Association” (MCI) is calling on the Mayor of London to make the scheme permanent.
Well, they have some feedback on the scheme, which they say helps reduce rider vulnerability on the overall road space and improves their visibility. They say the scheme has lead to greater motorcycle use, with more motorcycle miles driven in London in 2009 than in the years before.
These lanes are shared with cyclists and it seems the two have been living fairly harmoniously, so that’s one obstacle out of the way and indeed the MCI wants TFL to publicise the fact that bikers are using these lanes and (don’t you love this) “educate” car drivers to be aware of that, as when pulling out of side roads, cars have to cross the bus lanes, where unfortunately some little darling could be bearing down on them like a bullit train on their 2 wheeled ego machine!
Well I am all for anything that keeps cycles, motor cycles and cars apart and this scheme on the face of it heads in that direction, but surely, why mess about, why half measures, they would be better off making a law that says when a bus lane exists, the two wheeled road users MUST use it. Fact is both cyclists and bikers always seem to be in such a hurry and they are going to be popping in and out of the bus lane as it suits them and frankly, I cant remember the last time a motorcyclist stayed behind me during a journey, even when I was driving at the maximum allowable speed for the road, no they always have to pass you, mostly, breaking the law and the speed limit to do it and if they are coming towards you they have to intimidate you by overtaking on your side of the road, often causing you to break heavily, or swerve closer to the kerb.
Our society seems to be condoning and patronising these ridiculous often 160-170mph 2 wheeled inherently unstable dangerous methods of transport, frequently ridden by inexperienced riders who are riding beyond the capabilities of themselves and their machines, often in unsuitable weather, fuelled by an obsession with speed and thrill seeking. Our offices overlook a busy urban junction and never and I mean never does a day go by where we don’t see bikers leaving the traffic lights up on one wheel for the first few hundred yards.
OK, this turned into a rant about bikers, but frankly, in the wrong hands (and many of them are) they are extremely dangerous and wearing my heart on my sleeve, yes, anything that can remove some of that danger has to be a good thing for us all, however you cant just put it down to car drivers, as its difficult to see something approaching you from behind that might be coming up on either side, when you least expect it, but what we mustn’t do is convince bikers that they are motoring royalty by giving them extra special treatment, whilst blaming drivers of vehicles for every accident a biker has.
So for me, it’s a yes to the TFL bus lane experiment, put the bikers there and keep them there and for good measure, lets do it all over the country.