Brighton and Hove City Council is set to become the latest local authority to open up extra bus lanes for motorcyclists as part of an 18 month trial.
It appears to be dawning on a growing number of forward-thinking councils that motorbikes ease congestion rather than contribute to it, so encouraging them to open bus lanes for two-wheel traffic.
However, there are still many councils which fail to see the light, and in some towns and cities only certain bus lanes are accessible. The only surefire way bikers know if a bus lane is safe to use and free from a potential fine, is to read street signage.
Unless it clearly states otherwise on the signs, you should assume that a bus lane cannot be used by motorbikes within the bus lane’s operating hours.
It’s a widely held belief that in London motorcyclists can use Red Routes, as indicated by single and double red lines at the roadside. But Transport for London’s website says the rule applies to most Red Routes, not all of them. Motorcyclists must still check the blue signs at each junction.
All road users can drive in bus lanes “out of hours”
One thing that many motorists and motorcyclists often overlook is the fact that all vehicles can use a bus lane outside its indicated operating hours. So if the sign says 7am–7pm, at 7.01pm you are free to use the bus lane, which will probably be empty.
The fixed penalty charge for driving in a bus lane without permission to do so is £70 outside of London and £130 inside London.
Last year more than 5,500 people petitioned the government to change the bus lane motorcycle laws.
Motorbike campaigners have welcomed the extension of the trial in Brighton and have called for even more bus lanes to be opened up for motorcyclists.
Ann France, Motorcycle Action Group southeast region rep, said: “As a solution to congestion problems, this makes a lot of sense for motorcyclists.
“Councils all over the country are opening up to this and are either discussing it or have gone ahead and done it.
“It has proved very successful everywhere that it has been done so far.”