Questions remain over controversial Oxfordshire transport plan

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Published on 24 April 2020 by Mike Waters

The BMF has further concerns about Oxfordshire County Council’s official briefing document on the role of motorcycles in its Local Transport and Connectivity Plan despite its being replaced once already. 

As the BMF has previously reported, public outcry over ‘extreme bias’ against motorcycles in the original document - which was first highlighted by BMF member and independent councillor John Broad – led the Council to withdraw and replace the original document. Contentious passages such as “Statistical evidence suggests motorcyclists are a danger to themselves” which prompted uproar among the motorcycle community have been removed.  

However, the updated briefing document, which can be found here, has also prompted critical comment after closer examination and the BMF’s Political and Technical Services Director Anna Zee, who is also the serving President of the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations (FEMA)has highlighted another questionable statement within the updated document. 

The updated document notes that “Where Transport for London (TfL) has permitted access to bus lanes for motorbike riders, research has shown that the number of road incidents involving powered two-wheelers has increased at busy locations.” The citation for this assertion is a Transport Research Laboratory report, Impacts of motorcycles in Westminster bus lanes (PPR365). 

Anna notes: “The implication is that allowing bikes in TfL’s bus lanes led to a permanent increase in motorcycle accidents. However, the report was commissioned not by TfL, but by the Department for Transport and Westminster Council. It looked at eight sites in the borough of Westminster and it was written back in 2008.  

The BMF got a promise from Prime Minister Boris Johnson to allow bikes in TfL bus lanes, which he kept when he was elected Mayor of London in 2008. The small increase in accidents at junctions after bikes were allowed in the TfL bus lanes lasted only temporarily while drivers and riders got used to the idea. 

ice try, Oxfordshire County Council, but let’s stick to relevant facts. 

The BMF will continue to closely monitor this issue and encourages motorcyclists to contribute to the ongoing survey about the role of motorcycles in the Council’s Local Transport and Connectivity Plan. The survey is open until May 17th 2020 and it can be found here 

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