Chris Ames 23 January 2024

Councils get new steer on motorbikes in bus lanes

Councils get new steer on motorbikes in bus lanes image
Image: JuliusKielaitis /

The Department for Transport (DfT) has updated its guidance for councils on allowing motorcycles to use bus lanes.

The starting point for the guidance is that traffic signs give local authorities the flexibility to allow motorcycles into their bus lanes, but this must be explicitly stated in the traffic regulation order for the bus lane.

It includes updates to legislation since the last version in 2007 but maintains the existing policy that councils should allow motorcyclists – solo-powered 2-wheelers including mopeds – to use bus lanes ‘wherever it is appropriate to do so’.

The guidance notes that there are potential benefits and disbenefits of such a move, adding that the decision should be taken with care to mitigate foreseeable and avoidable risks.

It cites the following policy considerations:

  • safety implications involved in restricting motorcyclists to general traffic lanes, against the possible problems of allowing motorcyclists into the bus lane
  • effect on other vulnerable road users, especially pedestrians and cyclists
  • possible impact on bus journey time reliability due to additional traffic in the bus lane
  • reduction in congestion for other traffic on routes currently used by motorcyclists
  • potential for motorcycling to become a genuine choice for road users if it is seen as a more convenient means of transport
  • potential for overall improvements in transport efficiency
  • local publicity to help advise road users of a policy change

The guidance also advises councils to consider the continuity of bus lane routes that admit motorcycles, warning that intermittent permission can be confusing and may pose enforcement difficulties.

Visit Transport Network to continue reading.

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