Q: What have motorbikes in London's bus lanes and panto got in common?
A: Neither are remotely funny.
That is why the London Cycling Campaign are sending a couple of panto dames out on to London's bus lanes this morning carrying placards warning fellow cyclists “It’s behind you!”, advising them to watch out for motorbikes in bus lanes. The dame's efforts mark the start of an awareness and monitoring campaign, around the whole issue of motorbikes in bus lanes.
The dames will also be handing out cards at Hyde Park Corner from 8.30am on 5th January.
The publicity campaign is in response to the start of an 18-month trial permitting motorbikes into many London bus lanes.
During the trial, which starts today, motorbikes will be permitted to use most of the bus lanes on the Mayor’s red routes. Cyclists and pedestrians are being advised to 'Be Aware, Take Extra Care' in bus lanes and have a chance to report any incidents involving motorbikes.
The London Cycling Campaign will be distributing Bus Lane Watch cards to cyclists from 5th January, with details of the experimental trial of motorbikes in red route bus lanes and providing them with a web address where they can report experiences and incidents to the LCC.
Koy Thomson LCC’s chief executive said, “Putting motorbikes in bus lanes will not reduce motor traffic and will likely undermine the Mayor’s targets for growth in cycling. The Mayor has set this up as a trial and it is vital that it is properly monitored and evaluated. We want to give cyclists and pedestrians an opportunity to report their experiences and to record incidents that take place in bus lanes.”
More than 3500 people signed a petition presented to the Mayor in the summer of 2008 asking him to reconsider his decision on the issue. Previous trials of motorbikes in bus lanes have not, according to Transport for London, provided clear evidence of benefits to motorcyclists, but have the potential for ‘disbenefits’ to cyclists and pedestrians.
Transport for London will be running a consultation on the trial for a period of six months ending in July.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.