Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lives at Risk in Bus Lane Trial Cover-up say BMF

Lives at Risk in Bus Lane Trial Cover-up say BMF
Monday, 28 Jan 2008 08:10

The British Motorcyclists Federation have accused London Mayor Ken Livingston’s office of putting motorcyclists lives at risk by failing to authorise the use of London’s bus lanes by motorcycles. The BMF will now be making a formal complaint against the Mayor who is also Chairman of Transport for London. This follows the leaking of a long overdue Transport for London (TfL) report in to the use of bus lanes by motorcycles. The report (the findings of which of not been disputed), shows that accidents were nearly halved over a three-year period on two trial routes where motorcycles were allowed into bus lanes. In fact it found that when motorcycles were allowed access to bus lanes, it proved safer for all users, pedestrians, cyclists, car drivers and motorcyclists, with a 42 per cent fall in the overall rate of collisions. Speaking on the report, BMF Chairman Anna Zee said: “Considering that the Mayor set a target for a 40% casualty reduction across London and the only group that has not met this are motorcyclists, this is a disgraceful affair. The report was available in September but has been suppressed for political reasons. Lives are being put at risk for political expediency.” Comparing the trial routes of Brixton Road and Finchley Road with a control route, the report found that accidents directly involving motorcycles fell by 45 per cent, while those on the control route increased by 19 per cent. Also down were pedestrian casualties by 39 per cent against a three per cent rise on control route. On the perceived danger to cyclists, the report shows that collisions between cyclists and motorcyclists fell by 44 per cent. Summarising, the draft report said: "These figures demonstrate that crashes involving powered two-wheelers and other vulnerable road-users become more infrequent even when considering the increased concentration of riders." A year ago the BMF welcomed the news that a TfL review was underway of its trials that ran between 2002 and 2005, but has bemoaned the fact that despite repeated requests, the report has still not been published. Commenting on reports that Mayoral staff have now ordered a re-write of the report to avoid a green back-lash from the cycle lobby, the BMF say that this is like living in a dictatorship where everything is manipulated to suit the state. BMF Spokesman Jeff Stone said: “We’ve been involved with the campaign for wider bus lane access for over twelve years now. These findings match what we know from elsewhere and I find it bizarre that an expensive report set up to establish the facts has confirmed what we have been saying – but has been suppressed because it doesn’t suit. This smacks of political interference from the highest level.” Ends Note 1: In March 2007 the Government issued a new Traffic Advisory Leaflet (TAL02/07) to Local Authorities that specifically encouraged a more objective assessment to be made of bus lane use by motorcycles. The Government’s Motorcycling Strategy (published in February 2005) also sought to facilitate motorcycling as a choice of travel within a sustainable transport framework. Note 2: Existing Bus lane access sites Bristol has operated a permanent bus lane access since 1996 and Reading since 1999. Other sites are in: Northern Ireland, Birmingham, Colchester, Derby, Bath, Hull, Swindon, Richmond on Thames, Newcastle on Tyne, Sunderland and the M4 bus lane. Being trialled in London are the Finchley Road (A41) at St John's Wood to Hampstead, the A23 to the South and A13 to the East. Motorcycles are also allowed to use some HOVs (High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes). Those in Leeds and South Gloucestershire have been used for some years while others will include the southbound stretch of the M1 from junction 13 near Bedford to junction 7 near Hemel Hempstead, and the M3 north from junction 3 near Bagshot to the M25 turn-off at junction 2, both areas already popular with motorcycle commuter users.


Friday, January 4, 2008

Scooters Could Save American Consumers 14 Million Gallons of Gasoline Per Day

New York, NY, May 22, 2006 - As gas prices soar to record highs, a new national survey released today found that 30% of U.S. consumers would be extremely or somewhat likely to consider using a motor scooter for their everyday transportation needs. According to the survey conducted in the first week of May of 2006, these individuals indicated a willingness to transfer 35% of their weekly mileage to a scooter.

By comparing the results of the survey to Department of Energy national averages for fuel consumption and emissions, the findings establish that if Americans were to utilize one of the latest eco-friendly scooters available in the market today, they could, in aggregate, reduce national fuel consumption by 14 million gallons of gasoline per day and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 324 million lbs. per day.

"Scooters" were defined in the survey as two-wheel vehicles that can reach 40-100mph, whose average cost is $2,000 or above. The survey was fielded by ICR on behalf of Piaggio Group Americas, the manufacturer of the Vespa® brand scooter and a leading manufacturer of two-wheel vehicles.

"The benefits of scooters are well known around the globe, as they are part of the daily behavior for millions of people worldwide," said Paolo Timoni, President and CEO of Piaggio Group Americas. "While growing in popularity, scooters are only marginally embraced in the U.S. where millions of individuals drive cars in situations where motor scooters would be perfectly appropriate and convenient. Scooters are an additional transportation solution to help reduce consumer gas spending, but also provide an environmentally friendly transportation mode as a result of its high MPG and modern engine technologies."

The survey found other strong factors motivating consumer's willingness to consider utilizing a scooter, including environmental concerns and overall cost savings. The survey found that 33% of Americans would be likely to use a scooter to reduce emission harmful to the environment, 35% would be likely to use a scooter to save $25.00 a week on gasoline.

This survey underscores the growing popularity of two-wheel vehicles. Scooter sales have increased tremendously over the past two years and manufacturers are preparing for a busy summer of record sales. U.S. sales of all Piaggio brand scooters through its dealer network increased by an impressive 15% in 2005. These achievements were driven by the launch of new dealerships, new products and overall increased brand awareness in key U.S. markets. Piaggio, which re-entered the U.S. market in 2000, now has dealerships in over 100 locations - over 50 of which have opened since January 2005.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Motorcycle bus lane pilot study from London

Pilot study

Bus lanes operate in order to give buses priority over general traffic in London. Motorcycles, and other privatised forms of motor traffic, are not permitted to use bus lanes in London to ensure this priority is successful. Approval is required from the Department of Transport (DfT) in order to change this regulation.

The Mayor, and TfL, receives many requests from motorcyclists to be allowed to use bus lanes across London. TfL has also discussed this issue with the motorcycle organisations and while we understand their reasons for wanting motorcyclists to use bus lanes, there are concerns over the impacts of existing users of these facilities, particularly in terms of the safety for users such as cyclists.

As a result we have introduced three pilot studies, with approval from the DfT, to help inform the London and national debate on whether or not to allow motorcycles to use bus lanes.

Motorcycle, Bus, Taxi and Bike Lane from UK

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Scooter Lanes Controversy Hits Camden

"Kolley Kibber" writes: Planning permission has been given to a motorised scooter lane on Fortess Road. After months of campaigning Betty Tingwell, a local senior citizen, and Sheila Bow, whose five-year-old son was knocked down by a scooter in January, have persuaded Camden Council to build a pathway specifically designed for motorised scoters. The path will run from Ashton Court Retirement Home, Ascham Street to Hampstead Heath bowling green taking in parts of Fortess Road and Highgate Road. The Council finally yielded after five hundred people signed a partition in support of the project. Betty Tingwell was delighted with the result and spoke out for retirement communities everywhere. "I am so tired of having to weave in and out, people walk incredibly slowly. I urge other scooter users in London and anywhere else for that matter to push for the cause, you can change things for the better" Mrs Bow was just relieved to be able to walk with her son in safety. "Ashton Court is a particularly expensive home. All the residents have money to spend and it seems many of them choose to spend it on these blasted scooters. The streets round are packed with scooterists many of which drive dangerously fast and a lot of the drivers can't see very well."

Major Intersection in China - Note the Bicycle/Scooter Lane

Motorcycle Lane Highway Ramp