Motorcycle groups today welcomed Boris Johnson as new London Mayor – and called on him to keep his promise to let motorcyclists use bus lanes.
Johnson swept to victory with 1,168,738 first and second preference votes compared to 1,028,966 for former Mayor Ken Livingstone – who had flatly refused to open bus lanes to motorcycles despite a fall in casualties on routes where the measure had been trialled.
Johnson’s win followed a disastrous day for Labour in local elections elsewhere, the party’s worst turnout in the polls 40 years.
In his victory speech, Johnson told Londoners: “"I will work flat out to repay and to justify your confidence.”
Livingstone said: "I'm sorry I couldn't get an extra few points that would take us to victory and the fault for that is solely my own."
Livingstone sparked outrage in March when he announced the capital’s bus lanes would not be opened to motorcycles despite aleaked report from the mayor’s office stating collisions fell 42% for all road users on routes where the measure had been trialled. His office published a “final” version of the report with before-and-after casualty rate comparisons removed.
David Short, campaigns manager for the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), called Johnson’s victory “a good day for motorcycling and for all road users because it means that roads will be safer”.
Short said motorcycle access to bus lanes was also more likely elsewhere following Conservative local elections wins in England and Wales. “The Conservative policy is that bikes will be allowed in bus lanes,” said Short. “That’s the default position so Conservatives in local government is advantageous from that perspective.”
Craig Carey-Clinch, director of public affairs for the Motorcycle Industry Association, said: “We offer our congratulations to Mr Johnson. We welcomed his support for allowing motorcycles access to bus lanes during his campaign and we now look forward to working with his administration to help him deliver on that promise.”
Short said: “MAG is delighted that Boris Johnson has succeeded in his bid for the Mayor of London,” adding: “He has made a commitment that bikes will be allowed in bus lanes. I’ll be making representations of behalf of motorcyclists to ensure that this is expedited.”