TRL610 Cycling in Bus Lanes

Transport Research Laboratory (TRL)
Publication date: 
November 2004

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Cyclists in the UK are normally permitted to use with-flow bus lanes and other bus priority facilities because sustainable modes of transport are being encouraged and because cycling in bus lanes is usually safer than riding outside them between moving buses and general traffic. TRL was commissioned by the Department for Transport to examine the issues surrounding cyclists and bus priority in order to: Obtain a better understanding of cyclist and bus interaction in bus lanes; Provide guidance on the practical options available for increasing the safety and convenience for cyclists in bus priority schemes. Surveys and interviews carried out in Edinburgh, Hull, Derby and London found that riding in bus lanes (including contra-flows) was generally very popular with cyclists because it appeared safer and more direct than cycling in general traffic. Wider bus lanes were preferred, and an advisory cycle lane within the bus lane was suggested where space allowed. Few instances of actual conflict or delay were observed, but bus drivers and cyclists appeared to have a generally low opinion of each other, which might be addressed by ensuring sufficient bus lane width and greater mutual awareness.