What in the word “buslane” do cyclists not understand?

When you are invited to a party, do you ask the host not to invite certain guests? If a guest I invite would suggest such exclusions to me, I would show him the door and remove him from my Xmas card list.
Cyclists seem to have trouble to understand certain concepts of modern road traffic. Red lights for example. They think they are not for stopping. I do not like all red lights, some make sense to jump, but trust me, some red lights make real sense. Even more dangerous is that some cyclists do not understand the meaning of a blinking amber left indicator light, and are taken by complete surprise if the vehicle showing this brightly blinking light actually turns left.
Unfortunately these misconceptions sometimes end tragically.
In a latest twist of clear misunderstanding, cyclists seem to consider the buslane their own and even want to regulate its use. What in the word “buslane” do cyclists not understand? The three letters “BUS” stand for these big, often red and large vehicles, that transport many people of the public at the same time. And these buses own the buslane, that’s why its named after them – BUSLANE. Its not a taxi lane, nor a motorcycle lane, and surely not a bicycle lane, as they have their own. Sometimes part of the bus lane is now painted in blue, nice artistic touch, but not more then a really slippery guideline. Its a bit like being invited to a party and wear too much cheap perfume.
So please lets agree on a simple truth: we are all guests to the party in the buslane, invited by the bus drivers. Recently, the busdrivers extended the invitation to motorcycles, and this makes a lot of sense. Motorcycles do not disturb bus traffic, they do not slow down buses, and motorcylces do not force the bus to leave his lane as bicycles do. In fact, bicycle traffic in the buslane is the primary factor for congestion and bus delays. And motorcycles are very happy to be invited y the bus drivers, as it gives the space to breeze, space away from stationary cars, motorcyclist now have a greater chance to survive. But sometime I wonder why the buslane is not opend for pedestrians, not much would change, except maybe the cyclists would now also start complaining down the vulnerability food chain, and not just up. What do I mean by vulnerability food chain? Its pedestrian > bicycle > motorcyle > car > bus > lorry > army tank, in order of vulnerability.
But enough ranting, lets try to be friends!
Why cant we all share the roads. Yes, there are mad motorcycle riders, as there are mad bicycle riders, but they are not the majority, they are the bad exceptions, on both sides. Motorcycles are not the real threat to cyclists, they may be noise and smelly, but in a inner city accident between a cycle and motorcycle, the physical damage will be pretty much equal. So we could easily coexists if we start to respect the other a bit more and understand his strengths and weaknesses.
We can even join forces and help each other. When I ride my my motorcycle in London, I feel like I protect the cyclist, as I introduce faster moving traffic into the buslane, discouraging car drivers to move into it. I position myself between cyclists and cars, being a bit more noisy and faster I have a fighting chance against a car, something a cyclist does not have. I fully respect the priority cyclists have in the bicycle lane, I never push or harass them, but if this narrow piece of real estate is clearly empty, I move into it. And again, I think this helps to protect the cyclist, as car and lorry drivers realise that the cycle lane is a busy lane, even without cyclists, and they better stay out of it.
In return, I would wish that cyclists understand motorcycles better. First, it is technically difficult for many of us to drive for longer period at walking speed. And the same way we do not block the bicycle lane for cyclists, I would hope that cyclists do not block the full buslane width for us. It would be a start if the cyclists would see the motorcycle dude as his stronger brother, and I am sure he will see the protection that can be provided by sharing the same lanes. And I promise: we may come close, but never touch.

3 Responses to “What in the word “buslane” do cyclists not understand?”

  1. Dominic, the ASL is a nice subject I love to talk about. How about starting to share it, left yours, right is us. This way, cyclists would not bring London to a standstill, by blocking the whole width of a road following red lights. Often before you clear the ASL, lights turn red again. One thing it seems cyclists do not understand is congestion. As soon as there are too many bicycles, you swarm out an take ownership of the whole road. But who cares about congestion as long as we do not pay for it…

  2. Hey, motorcyclist. You know that bit of road next to the traffic lights with a bicycle painted on it? It’s called an Advanced Stop Line. It’s there for the safety of cyclists.

    You’re invited into our ASL on your motorbike. No problem. But please don’t block cyclists from getting to it by parking your bike in the gap. What’s that? Oh, you don’t do that.

    I must be imagining it then.

  3. I am a particular fan of the cyclists that believe that their sparkling personality is an ideal substitute for wearing reflective clothing and using bike lights.

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