Plans to allow motorcycles to use bus lanes for a second trial period have been condemned by opposition parties on the London Assembly after an independent report showed the number of collisions involving cyclists increased during the current trial.
The existing trial, which expires on June 5th, was introduced last year and followed an election campaign row in which Boris Johnson accused predecessor Ken Livingstone of ignoring a study suggesting allowing motorcyclists to use bus lanes could lead to a decrease in accidents.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, TfL say that “fears of an increase in cyclist collisions with motorcyclists were unfounded” however a study into the trial found “the rate at which motorcyclists were involved in collisions on the Main sites increased by 33.0% and decreased by 50.7% on the Control sites” and that “the rate at which cyclists were involved in collisions on the Main sites increased by 173.3% and decreased by 4.3% on the Control sites. ”
Ahead of the trial there were fears drivers could face confusion as the arrangemnts only applied to the ‘Red Route’ and not roads controlled by London’s boroughs.
Announcing the new trial period Mayor Johnson said: “The chaos that was predicted by some doomsayers has clearly not materialised and, as I suspected would be the case, we have found substantial support for the measure.”
“There is always scope for improvement and a new trial, with a strong focus on safety, will allow motorcyclists to show that they can adhere to the spirit of the trial and ride with respect.”
Jenny Jones, who represents the Green Party on the Assembly, said the Mayor was “having to extend the trial because of the worrying rise in injuries for motorcyclists.”
“Motorbikes don’t belong in bus lanes. Their speeding makes cyclists and pedestrians feel less safe. This is another manifesto commitment from the Mayor which is coming up against the realities of London life. He should urgently rethink this proposal and keep motorbikes out of bus lanes, for their own safety and the safety of other road users.”
Labour’s transport spokesperson Val Shawcross said the independent report shows “what all sensible people feared would happen has happened – bus lanes have become more dangerous for cyclists and ironically for motorcyclists as well.”
Shawcross warned the Mayor that it was “important to take rational, research-based decisions – not make policy based on political bias or to seek favour with one group or another.”