Road Safety

By Elliot | 16th January 2012 | Category: Road Safety | Leave a comment

Are you aware that come Monday 23rd January, a permanent law will come into action in London which will allow for motorcyclists to use bus lanes?

Whilst Bristol and Birmingham already allow such practices, London is one of the most congested cities in Europe. This sort of feels like an accident waiting to happen, and the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) are urging everyone to take care.

The move will help to ease congestion and reduce CO2 emissions in the city, but some worry that the risks of accident are heightened.

Says IAM chief executive Simon Best: “This change will improve congestion and journey times for motorcyclists, and responsible bikers should find it safer being in a bus lane. Safer motorcycling in busy cities will encourage more moped and motorcycle use which can only be a good thing for traffic flow. But the evidence does show two of the most vulnerable road user groups – motorcyclists and cyclists – will be at more risk.

“This decision doesn’t just affect Londoners. With thousands more people visiting London for the Olympics this summer, everybody needs to be aware of the risks. Bus drivers and cyclists need to be vigilant and get used to sharing the space with motorcyclists, but there is a lot motorcyclists and cyclists can do to protect themselves.”

You hear that, non-Londoner? This affects you, too.

So here's the IAM's respective advice for motorcyclists and cyclists.

Motorcyclists:

1. Always assume that other road users may not have seen you

2. When travelling in a straight line position yourself where you can be easily seen – don’t sit out next to the traffic beside you, or hug the kerb. You get lost to sight

3. Be seen. Big blocks of bright colour are better than broken up or patterned clothing, which effectively camouflages you, and always have your headlight on

4. Give other lane users time to realise you are there. Give cyclists space and time to avoid startling them

5. Don’t use the extra space in the bus lane to unnecessarily increase your speed

6. Be careful of traffic crossing the bus lane at junctions, both from side roads, and out of the queue on your right. They aren’t looking for you – they’re looking for a big bus

7. Look well ahead to avoid needing to make sudden changes in direction for potholes etc – bus lanes tend to have uneven surfaces

Cyclists:

1. Always assume that other road users may not have seen you

2. Claim the lane. Ride in the middle of the lane, moving to allow others past as needed, but never ‘hug’ the kerb

3. Make eye contact with drivers emerging from junctions, particularly if they are turning right

4. Be seen. Check your lights, and wear high visibility clothes.  Put your front light on.

5. Be aware of the other people who can use the bus lane.  Don’t let them force you into things that are unsafe – but do try to make their lives easier by letting them past where its sensible

6. Don’t position yourself on the left of lorries and buses at junctions or undertake them on the left. The bus or lorry driver can’t see you, and if they turn left will cut across your path. They also have a different turning circle to a car – you risk getting trapped between the vehicle and roadside barriers

Take care out there.

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