Motorbikes look likely to be allowed to use bus lanes on two of Brighton’s busiest roads subject to a vote by councillors in the autumn.
Officials at Brighton and Hove City Council are to recommend a pilot scheme using bus lanes on the A23, north of Preston Park, and the A259 coast road.
After a MAG deputation at a council meeting last October, supporters signed a petition that was presented in November to the Green Party’s transport chief Councillor Ian Davey.
Members of the group met Councillor Davey and council officials yesterday (Thursday 16 August) to share the findings of a recent study and discuss the way forward.
Councillor Davey said that a report would be presented to the council’s transport committee at its November meeting.
If the committee agrees, work will start on a pilot scheme along sections of the A23 and A259 on the approaches to Brighton but not within the busier, central area.
Officials looked at similar schemes and evaluated the implications for road safety, air quality and congestion in Brighton and Hove.
They concluded that opening up bus lanes to motorcycles was a possibility.
Councillor Davey said: “When the Motorcycle Action Group approached us last year we were pleased to take up their request and investigate whether it would work here.
“Officers will now prepare a report based on the research that has been done for councillors to discuss and make a decision at the transport committee.
“That report and the further development of proposals will also give residents, other road users and neighbouring authorities the opportunity to express their views.
“We had a very positive meeting with the MAG representatives and I would like to thank them for their patience and their contribution which has enabled us to reach this point.
“I look forward to continuing to work with them on developing the idea further.
“We welcome ideas to make travel easier for people but it’s important that we consider the needs of all road users when exploring them in more detail.
“This is an example of how we are willing to work with groups to achieve the right combination of safe and sustainable transport measures.”
If the committee report is agreed, the scheme could start by next summer.
It would be monitored and the results brought back to the transport committee before any decision was made on whether to permit motorbikes in bus lanes on a permanent basis.
The council said that improving conditions for motorcyclists would complement work that was under way to
- increase the number of motorcycle parking bays in controlled parking areas
- provide secure locking points where bike theft has been a problem
- ensure greater road safety awareness for motorcyclists
Conservative MP Mike Weatherley said last week that he had written to the council about delays to the process of opening up Brighton’s bus lanes to motorcycles.
He said: “It appears to be the case that a decision is needlessly being delayed again and again to the frustration of bikers – a large number of whom are tourists – across the city.
“I should be extremely grateful if you would provide me with your comments on the situation, including the likely timing and outcome of a decision, as a matter of urgency.
“It’s frustrating that the council is dragging its heels over this issue.
“Opening up the city’s bus lanes to motorcycles is an entirely sensible plan that will help ease congestion and improve safety on our roads.
“The dithering over this issue by the Green administration is frustrating, especially as motorcycles queue up going in and out of Brighton and Hove while bus lanes remain virtually empty.”