Ken Livingstone says no to bikers in bus lanes

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London Mayor Ken Livingstone announced today he will not open bus lanes to motorcycles.

The Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) said the move condemned both motorcyclists and cyclists to unsafe roads.

A leaked report on a trial of motorcycles in bus lanes on three London routes had stated that collisions fell by 42 per cent for all road users.

But the mayor’s office today published a "final" version of the report with all reference to the 42 per cent drop in collisions removed. 

The mayor’s office claimed the new version “provided no clear evidence of safety benefits to motorcyclists and potential dis-benefits to pedestrians and cyclists”.

It said in a statement: “An earlier draft was wrongly claimed by some groups to show significant safety benefits to motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists. In fact, in this draft report a methodology was applied to the trial data that was flawed, providing a misleading set of safety statistics.”

The MCIA accused Livingstone of doctoring the findings to suit his predetermined view.

The Motorcycle Industry Association said in a statement: “Mr Livingstone was presented with a final draft of the report before Christmas, which showed a very clear and in some cases a dramatic safety improvement for cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists… Since the un-tampered report was leaked, Mr Livingstone has been attempting to rubbish it as not fit for purpose.”

Craig Carey-Clinch, the MCIA’s policy director, added: “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.”

The report published today uses a statistical method called the “Tanner test”.

The mayor’s office claimed: “This analysed the safety effects of allowing motorcyclists in bus lanes by combining accident data from a number of sites.

“It showed no clear evidence of safety benefits to motorcyclists and potential dis-benefits to pedestrians and cyclists.”

But Carey-Clinch said: “As you can imagine, it’s just b****x.”

Carey-Clinch explained: “It’s computer modelling to determine control data. In other words you don’t measure traffic flows on different roads, you estimate them using a computer model.

“That gives you your data which you then compare everything else by.

“Anything like that is flawed,” he added.

“You can’t make up control data by some model. You’ve got to go and measure it.”

Chris Hodder, government relations executive for the British Motorcyclists Federation, said before-and-after casualty rate comparisons had been removed from the latest report along with all "favourable data".

He said the earlier report had taken into account a rise in motorcycle traffic flow on the trial routes where the latest report did not.

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Steve Farrell

By Steve Farrell