Not enough being done to protect motorcyclists: London Assembly

London motorcycle

The London Assembly Transport Committee says Transport for London (TfL) is ‘under pressure’ over the rising number of motorcycle deaths in the Capital.

The claim came as the Transport Committee published its report into motorcycle safety, titled ‘Easy Rider: Improving motorcycle safety on London roads’.

Valerie Shawcross CBE, chair of the Committee, said TfL must “pay more attention to the safety of motorcyclists”, adding that “they (TfL) know they’ve not done enough to protect motorcyclists in London”.

On the same day that the London Assembly published its report (2 March), TfL announced it is ‘strengthening the work it carries out to reduce the number of accidents involving motorcycle and scooter riders in the Capital’.

In 2014, 5,233 motorcyclists were injured on London’s road, representing a 21% increase from 2010 when the figure stood at 4,337. The London Assembly says motorcyclists account for around 17% of all injuries and 24% of serious casualties on London’s roads, despite comprising just 1% of traffic in the capital.

It also says that in the past two years, 20% of motorcyclists in London have been involved in a collision, while just over three in five (62%)  have been involved in a near miss incident.

The key findings of the Committee’s report cover topics including access to bus lanes, monitoring of Cycle Superhighways and encouraging more young young riders to take additional training.

The report concludes that inconsistencies in providing access to bus lanes for motorcyclists causes ‘unnecessary confusion’. Currently, TfL allows motorcyclists to ride in bus lanes on the roads it manages, but many boroughs restrict access on their own roads. The London Assembly calls for a ‘more proactive approach’ from TfL to ensure a common approach across the city.

It also finds that close monitoring of Cycle Superhighways is necessary to assess the impact on safety for other vulnerable road users, particularly the reduction in road space for other traffic.

In terms of training, the report concludes that while the BikeSafe scheme appears to be effective in increasing safety awareness, more must be done to encourage young riders to participate in the scheme.

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM, chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, said: “There are three types of vulnerable road user in the Capital – cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists.

“During my time on the Transport Committee we have spent a great deal of time and effort ensuring TfL considers the needs of cyclists and pedestrians – now it is time for them to pay more attention to the safety of motorcyclists.

“It’s no coincidence that TfL rushed out a PR release the day before our report was published – they know they’ve not done enough to protect motorcyclists in London. I hope our investigation prompts them to act.

“Powered two-wheelers can be the congestion-buster of the future. More and more deliveries could be made by motorbike and electrified motorcycles will have a big impact on pollution levels. We have to ensure there is space for all modes of transport on London’s roads and that every road user can get from A to B as safely as possible.”