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Motorbikes in cycle and bus lanes - CPAG Briefing

Below is a C-PAG position statement on motor bikes in bus lanes. The CTC have asked people to:

  • A. Keep a note of incidents involving cyclists and motorbikes.
  • B. Contact your local authority and the police.
  • C. Contact local bus operator.
  • D. Monitor local media.
  • E. Keep the CTC informed.

The Cyclists' Public Affairs Group
Cotterell House, 69 Meadrow, Godalming, Surrey 6U7 3HS.
Telephone: 01483414320 or 0171 2523696
Fax: 01483426994


C-PAG Position Statement

Powered Two wheelers (PTWS) in Bike and Bus Lanes

Background

This paper is issued in response to a campaign by organisations representing motorcycle manufacturers and users for access to facilities designed for the advantage of other road user groups. Foremost have been the Motorcycle Action Group, Motor Cycle Industry Association and British Motorcycle Federation. The latter group's publication The Road to Reduced Pollution and Congestion states as policy objectives:

'4.3 Mopeds should be allowed to use cycle ways, providing they are not those which cyclists share with pedestrians....

'4.5 Some urban traffic schemes provide advanced stop lines for pedal cycles at junctions controlled by traffic lights. They could equally be utilised by motorcycles.'

Three cities are permitting the use of powered two wheelers in bus lanes; Reading and Hull as experiments and Bristol on a permanent basis. A fourth, Norwich, has rejected the proposal.

The C-PAG Position

The Cyclists Public Affairs Group (C-PAG) opposes the use by PTWs of bus lanes or of facilities such as cycle lanes and advance stop lines (ASLS) designed for the encouragement and protection of cyclists. We do not believe the proposals put forward to be acceptable on the following grounds:

Safety

The differential in speed between PTWs and bicycles would represent a risk to cycle users if PTWS were allowed into areas such as cycle lanes designed for the protection of cyclists on otherwise dangerous areas of road.

The weight difference between cyclists and motorcycles would represent a further threat to cyclist safety if they were required to share space. This is particularly the case with the larger high powered motorcycles which make up the majority of market sales in the UK.

Although a detailed 'before and after' study was not carried out in Bristol, a subsequent survey of cyclists found that 31% of cyclists had experienced problems with PTWs in bus lanes, leading the City Council to conclude that "it appears that the experiment has had a measurable negative effect on cyclists".

On the basis of Department of Transport figures, a motorcycle is twice as likely per mile travelled to kill or seriously injure a cyclist as a car.

Environment

In terms of emissions of environmental pollutants, motorcycles represent a threat to the city environment and do not offer significant advantages over other modes, even at current rates of occupancy:
Emission rates for passenger transport (grammes/passenger km)3

  C02 CO HC NOx SOx
Car 165 12.9 1.5 1.4 0.08
Bus 77 1.4 0.4 1.2 0.10
Taxi 330 2.0 0.4 1.6 0.43
Motorcycle 115 8.9 1.1 1.0 0.06

Separation of cyclists from the sources of such fumes in segregated facilities is an important measure making cycling a more attractive transport option. To allow PTWs into cycle facilities would remove that advantage.

The noise pollution created by a greater use of larger motorcycles would also represent a problem in urban areas.

C-PAG also anticipates a problem with enforcement of restrictions on PTWs use. Already there is a widespread problem of illegal PTWS use of bus lanes.

If PTWs are granted access to cycle lanes it may prove impossible to prevent their use of cycle lanes in shared-use areas, representing a threat to cyclists and pedestrians alike.

Policy

Bicycle and bus lanes are designed to maximise access to city centres and to encourage and protect 'benign' modes of transport. To allow their use by individual motor transport users would congest them, reducing their effectiveness, and attract a greater amount of motorcycle traffic into town centres. This runs counter to most policy on road safety and environmental objectives, including Local Agenda 21 and Planning Policy Guidance note 13.

The effect of allowing motorcycles into cycle facilities will be to discourage cycling. Fear of traffic is the baffler to cycling most commonly cited in research. To remove the protection from motor traffic which cycle facilities afford would act against efforts to meet the Department of Transport's policy objective of doubling cycle use by 2002 and quadrupling it by 2012.

In view of these factors, the Cyclists' Public Affairs Group, representing the UK's major cycle user organisations, urges that calls for motorcycle use of bicycle facilities or bus lanes be rejected.

1. DOT, Targeting the Future, 1996
2. DOT, Transport Statistics Report, 1995
3. Centre For Independent Transport Research in London, CILT Journal, September 1996


Cycling in Bristol

Last updated 04 December 2000