I try and stay out of politics on this blog but this is such an important issue I hope you’ll forgive me a small rant.
As readers of MCN will know, in September TfL’s draft report on bikes in bus lanes showed that allowing motorcycles into bus lanes was good for bikers, good for cyclists and good for pedestrians. The report published yesterday uses a different statistical analysis to claim that there is no clear safety benefit – the opposite of the truth back in September. If other local authorities rely on it as an excuse to keep bikes out of their own bus lanes, then preventable deaths and injuries will be the result.
It is alleged that the report has been changed because Mayor Ken fears the cyclist lobby organising against him on polling day. Politicians will always have an eye on the electoral cosequences of their actions, but we are talking about people’s lives here – and not just bikers, but cyclists too.
Here’s the MCI view:-
LIVINGSTONE CONDEMNS CYCLISTS AND MOTORCYCLISTS TO UNSAFE ROADS
The Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI) has today reacted angrily to the publication of a so-called ‘official’ report into an experimental scheme which allows motorcycles to use bus lanes on routes in London by Mayor Ken Livingstone.
The ‘official’ report says that there is no clear safety benefit for motorcyclists, but that there would be a safety disbenefit for cyclists. Mr Livingstone has said that he will not now allow motorcyclists to use bus lanes in London.
But MCI is aware that Mr Livingstone was presented with a ‘final daft’ of the report before Christmas, which showed a very clear and in some cases, a dramatic safety improvement for cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists. The original ‘un-doctored’ final draft was leaked to the media and motorcycle organisations in January.
Since the un-tampered report was leaked, Mr Livingstone has been attempting to ‘rubbish’ it as not ‘fit for purpose’ and has heavily criticised the team which prepared the report.
MCI’s Craig Carey-Clinch said: “Mr Livingstone’s idea of ‘fit for purpose’ clearly has nothing to do with motorcycle or cycle safety. The findings of the ‘real’ report were clearly not ‘fit’ for his pre-determined view that he didn’t want motorcycles in bus lanes.
“The report that Mr Livingstone has published today is little more than politically ‘spun’ tripe, pedalled to suit a negative view about motorcycling which has been heavily promoted by the Mayor’s anti-motorcycle transport advisors.
“The original report shows quite clearly that safety can be significantly improved not just for motorcyclists, but also cyclists and pedestrians. By doctoring the results to suit both his and his advisors’ personal opinions, Livingstone has condemned cyclists and motorcyclists to greater vulnerability in London’s traffic. A bizarre standpoint from a Mayor who claims that he wants to encourage cycling and improve road safety.
“If Livingstone wants to get serious about improving road safety, reducing traffic congestion and Co2 pollution then he must start taking motorcycling seriously as a mode of transport in London. The fact is that an increasing number of Londoners and commuters are voting with their wheels and switching to motorcycling. Allowing riders to use bus lanes makes complete sense from an overall road safety and mobility perspective.”
Several other UK local authorities and even some London boroughs allow motorcycles to use bus lanes, some for many years, with no negative safety issues reported.
MCI is now calling for the publication of the original report, so that the results can be properly compared with the tampered ‘official’ report which has been published today.