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Should motorcycles use bus lanes?

Bus lane in use in London lane filtering happiest commuters A British survey has found that riding a motorcycle makes you safer on a bicycle and vice versa, while other surveys show riders are the safest motorists. kerb motorists
Riders can use bus lanes in London

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.London bus lanes

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.

Bus Lane rider - helmet cam - lane filteringVictoria 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.Call for motorcycles to use bus lanes

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.

  1. Can you imagine how great it would be if Motorcycles could access the wonderfully underused dedicated bus lanes running down the Pacific motorway?

  2. As you said, we can use them in NSW and the concept works well with no drawbacks. It frees up space in the other lanes for cars and motorbikes cause the least problems for buses because they are faster than buses (unlike pushbikes) and can most easily flow/merge around a stopped bus instead of queuing up behind it (like taxis).

    Motorbikes in bus lanes are all about gains without drawbacks. I suspect that the opponents to the concept are basing their opposition on jealousy (the main argument against lane filtering) and just plain ignorance with a dash of stubborn ideology (bus lanes are for busses!).

  3. The only drawback I can see to this is that some bus lanes suddenly turn into bus ways and diverge from the main road into bus stations . This has cought out some motorists who shouldn’t have been driving in the bus lanes and usually traps them in a one way road with high medians blocking off escape. Extra signage and a different paving paint will be required to keep unwitting motorcyclists from making the same mistakes. Apart from that it’s stupid not to let us use bus lanes and other areas that provide a greater safety buffer than filtering, cycle lanes and hard shoulders and even dedicated turn lanes especially the ones with a cycle lanes sectioned off for going straight.

  4. Hoddle Street in Melbourne, Victoria still has signs up allowing motorcycles in the bus lane as as long as the signs remain, I will continue to use the bus lane. It’s safe for me, it’s safe for buses, it’s safe for other road users. Hopefully Daniel Andrews will see the logic and sense in allowing bus lane use for motorcycles in all bus lanes in Victoria.

  5. I agree, bus lanes are a safe alternative and should be open for motorcyclists.
    How about the bike lanes? Why can’t motorcyclists use the bike lanes with same rules as filtering rules?
    Seems ridiculous that motorcyclist can filter through traffic but cannot filter through unused and perfect surfaced bike lanes.

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