City traffic flows more smoothly and safety is not jeopardised when motorcycle and scooter riders are allowed to ride in bus lanes.
That’s not just our opinion, it’s the opinion of leaders in many major cities around the world. In London, riders have been allowed to use bus lanes since 2010 without any adverse affects, according to the official London Mayor website.
Tel Aviv is now opening its bus lanes to motorcycles after a six-month trial showed that motorcycles, buses and taxis can coexist in the same lane. Israel plans to roll it out throughout the country.
In Australia, the only place you can legally ride in bus lanes is NSW and the ACT. In most states, only bicycles, taxis, limousines and emergency vehicles can use these lanes.
Victoria ran a six-month trial in Hoddle St in 2011 allowing riders to use the bus lane. The report is now more than five years overdue and riders are still not allowed in bus lanes! However, there is some hope the new government will rule on the issue soon.
Western Australia also started a one-year trial for motorbikes and taxis in bus lanes in South and Beaufort streets, Perth, from March 2015.
UPDATE: Transport Minister Bill Marmion now tells us that despite several motorcycle accidents in the lanes, he has extended the trial to October 2017 and extended it to include Fitzgerald St bus lane.
If there are concerns about safety, why are cyclists allowed to use these lanes in most states? Surely they are far more vulnerable because of the speed differential with motorised transport and their smaller profile on the road.
Bus lanes a safe alternative
The Tel Aviv report on their trial found there was no harm in allowing motorcycle and moped riders to share the lanes with buses.
“Under all circumstances examined, including at corners and next to bus stops, the new arrangements did not substantially change or aggravate the ‘conflict’ between two-wheeled vehicles and other vehicles. All potential conflicts were resolved without incident.”
While lane filtering is now allowed in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, under trial in the ACT and being considered by the other states, the option of using a bus lane would be a most welcome option.
It would give riders an alternative to the sometimes dangerously small gaps between lanes of traffic.
Allowing motorcycles and scooters to use bus lanes is not just another free kick for riders. Like lane filtering, it would free up the rest of the road for other traffic, so it should be supported by all motorists.