|Motorbikes Banned From Ealing Bus Lanes|
Two year trial has not increased safety benefits
The signs are in place throughout the borough announcing motorbikes will be banned form using bus lanes from the 27th June.
Ealing Council was taking part in an experiment - which began in 2009 - allowing bikers access to parts of the road usually reserved for buses.
It was originally thought this would help increase safety benefits to motorcyclists by around 40%.
However, according to the Council, evidence suggests that there have been significantly more motorcylist casualties, mainly caused by cars turning across bus lanes into side junctions.
The council considered data from the London wide experiment on Transport for London roads and data from motorcycle crashes on Ealing roads.
The increased casualties in Ealing were similar to those on the TfL roads.
Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for Transport and Environment, said:
“Safety for all road users is our primary concern which is why the decision was taken to end this pilot.
“Not only are we committed to safety, we are also doing everything we can to reduce congestion on our roads for all road users as we all know how frustrating it can be to sit in traffic.
''We have recently implemented a successful project to remove traffic lights at two junctions - one in Acton and one in Southall. The results have been very positive, the volume of traffic had increased but the average queue length had decreased by two-thirds. Pedestrian waiting times reduced by half and no accidents were recorded. Safety was a crucial consideration throughout.”
Cycling groups lobbied against motorcycle access to bus lanes - in both trials cyclist casualties were higher than expected.
Motorcyclenews.com quoted the report into the trial which said:
“Whilst there were no direct collisions between a motorcycle and a pedal cycle, it is suggested that there must be a causal link given that the only change between the data-sets was the motorcycle experiment.”
It adds: “The most likely reason for the increase [in cycle collisions] is that cyclists are riding closer to the kerb (because of motorcycles passing fast and close), making them less visible to other road users.”
Motorcyclists believe they are being unfairly blamed for other peoples crashes.
The Transport for London(TfL) trial still continues, so some routes in Ealing are still open to motorcycles and will be clearly signposted.
Advice from the Council for drivers
Until the changes take effect, drivers of other vehicles need to:
· be aware that motorcycles are allowed in operational bus lanes
· look out for motorcyclists when driving across bus lanes to get into and out of side road junctions, access roads and driveways.
Motorcycle riders need to:
· be vigilant and adjust their speed when using bus lanes, especially when approaching junctions
· be alert to the possibility that another vehicle may cross their path at junctions, especially when the road ahead is congested because it is more difficult to see other vehicles turning through gaps in traffic queues
· be aware that a safer speed may be considerably slower than the official speed limit
· look out for pedal cyclists in bus lanes, giving plenty of room and consideration when passing them.
Whatever vehicle you use, always check the blue signs to find out what vehicles are allowed to use a bus lane as you approach it, and to check which hours and days it is operational. Outside of operational hours, any vehicle may use a bus lane.
15 June 2011