Ken Livingstone has ruled out allowing motorcyclists to ride in bus lanes, the Mayor’s announcement came as he published a report into a trial which he says fails to suggest such a move would lead to increased safety.
The possibility of allowing motorcycle users access to bus lanes has been raised by both the Respect party and Tory Mayoral candidate Boris Johnson who point to a report by Transport for London (TfL) which, it is claimed, showed accidents involving motorcycles fell 45% on trial routes of Brixton Road and Finchley Road while a control route saw a 19% rise.
Transport for London say their officials had “concerns about the validity of some of the early results of the study”. According to a statement issued by the Mayor’s office today:
“An earlier draft was wrongly claimed by some groups to show significant safety benefits to motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists. In fact, in this draft report a methodology was applied to the trial data that was flawed, providing a misleading set of safety statistics.”
“It utilised a flawed analysis based on a single day’s traffic counts, which produced widely varying numbers on a year-by-year basis.”
“Between two years at the same location, the number of cyclists counted increased three and a half times before falling back to previous levels two years later. Such a fluctuation in data could, for instance, have been a result of weather conditions, rather than the impact of sharing road space with motorcyclists.”
According the Mayor’s office the report published today “is the definitive analysis” from Transport for London’s Road Safety Unit.
Mayor Livingstone said he was “not opposed to the principle of allowing motorcycles in bus lanes if there is a clear safety benefit for all road users. However, I do not consider it appropriate to make a policy decision in such an important area when it is clear that the information used was not fit for purpose.”
“The final published report shows that at present, the only robust aspect of the evidence is the Tanner Test, which shows only a very small safety benefit for motorcyclists against a larger disbenefit for other vulnerable road users. On this basis I do not propose to further allow motorcyclists to use bus lanes.”
“Those who have advocated rushing though a change have clearly acted prematurely and irresponsibly. Such changes could have endangered the lives of cyclists and pedestrians.”
Conservative candidate for Mayor of London, Boris Johnson claimed “the original, unspun evidence shows that allowing motorcycles in bus lanes gives substantial improvements in safety for cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists.”
Mr Johnson accused Mayor Livingstone of “stubbornly and arrogantly refusing to accept the truth. I have looked at the evidence and this is it: motorcycles should be allowed in bus lanes.”
Johnson also accused the Mayor of “using every branch of City Hall to push his electoral agenda. He is playing politics with Londoners’ safety.”
“Londoners know that they can’t trust what Ken Livingstone says in the run up to an election. His approach is arrogant to say the least. Londoners deserve better.”
Earlier this week the London Cycling Campaign rejected Johnson’s plans to allow motorcyclists to use bus lanes. LCC Chief Executive Koy Thomson said the campaign was “seriously concerned that putting motorbikes in bus lanes will undermine plans, supported by both the Mayor and Boris Johnson, to make cycling a major transport mode in London.”