Bikes in bus lanes: safety v congestion

"IF THEY allowed motorcycles to use the Hills M2 bus corridor, that would relieve a lot of congestion."

This is the view of Motorcycle Council of NSW chairman, Christopher Burns.

Mr Burns cited a study by the Melbourne-based arm of European group Transport and Mobility Leuven as proof.

It suggested a 10 per cent modal shift from cars to motorcycles would reduce congestion at traffic pinch points by 40 per cent, with a consequential 6 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

The council raised its concerns with Transport for NSW as part of the NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan 2012 consultation, but to no avail.

A Roads and Maritime Services spokeswoman said: "Feedback from bus companies and drivers identified concerns that motorcyclists' use of the bus-only lane would be a safety hazard — to both motorcyclists and buses associated with frequent movements of motorcyclists in and out of the M2 bus-only lanes — in a high-speed environment.

"While there is no current intention to change the regulations, Roads and Maritime Services will review the operation of the M2 bus-only lane, including the legal and practical issues of allowing motorcycles to use the bus-only lane along the M2 motorway."

The privately owned motorway starts in Sydney's north at the Lane Cove Tunnel, and travels from North Ryde to the north-west, through to Baulkham Hills, where it joins the Westlink M7 motorway.

"Lane filtering would also speed up the flow," Baulkham Hills motorcyclist Thor Lund said, referring to an Australian-first trial, which started in February.

Roads Minister Duncan Gay said the three-month trial would include video monitoring of lane filtering behaviour at intersections and detect whether traffic movement improved in a northern CBD area, near where Mr Lund works.

In the December quarter there were 125,494 registered vehicles in the Parramatta local government area, including 2569 motorcycles.

NSW motorcycle registrations have doubled in the past decade.

"A lot of people get their licence and then stop for whatever reason," Mr Burns said.

In the five years to June 2012, there were 281 reported crashes involving motorcycles in the Parramatta LGA, of which two were fatal crashes.

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