Watchdog expresses safety concerns over red route trial

The capital’s transport watchdog yesterday expressed concern at the “lack of publicity” surrounding an 18 month pilot scheme allowing motorcycles into bus lanes on red route roads – those roads controlled by Transport for London.

The scheme, which came into effect yesterday, was announced in October by Mayor of London Boris Johnson amid criticism from cycling groups. The London Cycling Campaign has previously said they were “seriously concerned that putting motorbikes in bus lanes will undermine plans…to make cycling a major transport mode in London.”

Sharon Grant, Chair, London TravelWatch, said: “This is a bold experiment, and we await the outcome with considerable interest, but we are apprehensive that the general public are not aware exactly what is and what isn’t allowed.”

The watchdog says it is concerned that riders may be confused by the different rules for red route roads and local authority controlled roads as not all councils allow motorcycles to use bus lanes on the roads they control.

Grant commented: “We are also concerned about the safety of cyclists, who already use bus lanes, as well as the safety of pedestrians crossing bus lanes on red routes or alighting – motorcyclists are often less visible than other users of the road, and travel at speed. The wider issue, however, is that the whole purpose of bus lanes – to provide a clear route for buses to remain reliable and frequent – is being undermined, now that taxis, cyclists and motorcyclists can use them.

A spokesperson for TfL told MayorWatch that they had carried out a number of initiatives to raise awareness including emailing cycling databases, commissioning radio adverts and placing posters at more than 1,200 sites across London’s bus network.