Let´s talk about bus lanes!!!
Are we motorcyclists allowed on them?
Well, yes and no!!! The rule is simple, unless it is clearly indicated by signage, you should assume that a bus lane cannot be used by motorbikes within the bus lane’s operating hours.
Allowing motorcycles in bus lanes provides consistency for riders avoiding confusion and unnecessary risk. Other benefits include reduced motorcycle journey times giving you way more safe space than filtering down the outside or in between lanes of stationary traffic. Be aware of vehicles turning across your path, though. Look for gaps in the traffic that may be letting a vehicle turn from the opposite carriageway and be especially vigilant on vehicle front wheels near left hand turns; if they haven’t indicated, you might buy yourself some extra stopping time by spotting that turning wheel and always bearing in mind that you might be on their blindspot and therefor they pull to a left minor or major road in a blinking eye. Also be aware that buses have priority when moving off from a Bus Stop, so if you have one bus indicating right and he is starting to move you may want to slow down a bit and let him get into the lane.
Understanding the Bus Lane signage:
If you find this blue Bus Lane sign on the road where you have a motorcycle silhouette inprinted, it means that you are allowed to use it even during the period of time showing underneath. In this case there is a time restriction in between 7am-7pm ( You will find signs with different time restrictions as well) which are enforced to 4 wheeled vehicles other than buses, coaches or taxis meaning that we are allowed to use it 24/7.
As you can see, there is no motorcycle sillhouette on this sign. That means that we are not allowed on this bus lane during the period indicated on the sign (remember that times may vary). However we are allowed to ride on this Bus Lane out of the time period indicated on the sign. Simplifying it by other words, we can make use of this Bus Lane the same way that cars do.
If you find these two types of Bus Lane signs, simply do not make use of them at anytime as the only authorised vehicles are buses, coaches, taxis bycicles and emergency vehicles.
Adding to the signs, be aware that most if not all bus lanes have cameras to catch any vehicle breaking the rules and if you get into a bus lane which you aren´t allowed to go, you will be fined most likely. Always check the sign at the beginning of a bus lane, as in some places you may have a bus lane which allows you to ride on it, but at the next bus lane you may not be allowed to ride in. Regarding times, it´s always better to give some time allowance about the starting up and ending time of the bus lane restriction.
wishing you safe journeys!!!!