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motorbikes and the ASL

mark1964mark1964 Posts: 54
edited June 2009 in Commuting chat
I've read a bit about this in these forums and I think that those cyclists who say they don't have a problem with it are encouraging the use of the ASL by bikers which, in turn,leads to the ASL being blocked by said bikers and thus people in these forums moan about it. That's a lovely vicious circle, isn't it?.

Surely the last thing we want as a community is encouraging this sort of thing. Like others, I've had problems reaching the ASL in heavy traffic due to the fact it's full of bikers (scooter riders are the worst offenders by light years). Here in Bristol, motorbikes have been allowed into bus lanes since the mid 90's and I am convinced that it's lead to an increase in ASL and cycle lane abuse in this city - something I call 'red asphalt function creep'. Basically, it's the old adage of give someone an inch and they take a yard. Every day I see bikers waltzing into the ASL as if they have every right to be there and some even aggressively defend this 'right' when challenged. Had a numpty biker pull alongside me the other week when I was sat in the ASL turning right. I was well over to the right hand edge of the box with my right foot on the white line when he pulled alongside me on the right, actually outside the box on the wrong side of the road. He gave me a funny look, as if to say 'You're in my space'before racing off in a cloud of fumes. I've also had bikers undercut me in the ASL, an act of deliberate intimidation (anyone from Bristol here?. If so, this usually happens to me on Gloucester Road and outside a well-known motorbike showroom near the main station).

I also witness bikers racing in bus lanes, even saw one guy pulling wheelies. I also see a lot of bikers taking short cuts down cycle lanes, riding in contraflow bus lanes where the signage clearly indicates the lane is for Buses and Cycles only. They seem to think that every square inch of red or green asphalt is now free game.

In the end, motorbikes are really just thin two wheeled cars. They burn fossil fuels, pollute the air with fumes and can be bloody noisy to boot. Motorbikes in the ASL, bus lanes etc undermine the safety of cyclists who don't have the same acceleration they do. This puts paid to the 'safety' argument that bikers sometimes use. Motorcyclists may well be vulnerable on the road, but they have a high degree of manoeuvrability and speed to compensate. I don't see how a biker caught in a stationery traffic jam needs to use the ASL at all since they can accelerate at the same rate as the surrounding traffic.

Cyclists cannot accelerate this fast and we need the ASL and cycle lanes as buffer zones to allow us the filter through heavy traffic. I hope in london that Boris doesn't get his way and let bikers use bus lanes. It'll lead to far more cycle lane and ASL abuse.

To see more on the subject of motorbikes in cycle lanes, and general traffic stupidity, google the Bristol traffic Blog.
"Anything for a weird life"

Zaphod Beeblebrox


  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,600
    I don't mind it (though it's not a huge problem here in Birmingham) because bikers, like us, suffer from the temporary invisibility curse, that any vehicle with less than 4 wheels becomes invisible occasionally at junctions or sometimes in normal traffic. In my experience, bikers are a lot less danger to me than other road users, as they understand the perils of being on 2 wheels in traffic.

    However, if I see a motorbike coming with L plates on it, I dive for cover...
  • Deadeye DuckDeadeye Duck Posts: 419
    You really don't like 'bikers' do you?

    Coming from a background of 'bikes' with and without engines I can see both sides of the argument and it really is sticks and stones.

    A bicycle taking a primary position in a traffic cue is just as at risk from cars as a motorbike is. Yes a motorcyclist has more protective gear on (usually), but a motorbike is a hell of a lot heavier than a bicycle, and if you've ever been unlucky enough as to have a car nudge you and end up on your side with your leg under your motorbike, you'll soon find out it's a hell of a lot harder to get back up, than on a bicycle too.

    'Bikers' on cyclepaths & bus lanes (unless stating that they're allowed), I can understand as being stupid, but I don't really see the problem with them using ASLs. I've never had any hostility from any in ASLs, nor have I not been able to get into the ASL due to 'bikers'.

    As for you sitting at the very right of the ASL with your leg out to the right, basically blocking the entrance to the ASL for anyone filtering up be it with or without engine, it wasn't exactly the most curtious place to be, and I dare say if the guy who pulled up beside you didn't have an engine, he'd still be just as miffed that he couldn't get into the ASL because of you. Yes you were in the best position for where you wanted to be, but they don't know that, nor will they think it at first.
    Schwinn Fastback Comp : FCN 5
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  • Stuey01Stuey01 Posts: 1,273
    I was blocked from getting to the ASL by numerous numpty motorcyclists this morning. having said that this morning is hardly representative of a normal day, tube strike has caused absolute mayhem and gridlock on the roads.
    I find motorcyclists are generally OK but for the odd onanist who thinks the road is their personal race track, but to be fair there are plenty of knobs on bicycles too, saw a few of them this morning too.

    Cars, vans, buses, lorries in the ASL, now that really grinds my gears.
    Not climber, not sprinter, not rouleur
  • discuriodiscurio Posts: 118
    the tax disc on a motorbike says bicycle. they're argument is that they are allowed in the ASL. scooters on the other hand............

    four wheeled vehicles in the ASL pee's me off alot more than motorcycles.
    I'm not dumb. I just have a command of thoroughly useless information
  • mark1964mark1964 Posts: 54
    I wasn't blocking the ASL at all. On this occasion, there was lots of room for other cyclists to get into the ASL behind me and also to the left. I was the first vehicle to get there, with cars etc pulling up behind me. I think this guy was miffed since he treats ASL's as a convenient space to be in. He should not have positioned himself as such on the road as he had no legal right to use the ASL. He should have done what the rest of the traffic was doing - staying back. He only put himself at risk by adopting that position.

    I don't really hate bikers per se, only when they act as lunatics and have seen Easy Rider once too often.
    "Anything for a weird life"

    Zaphod Beeblebrox
  • AidyAidy Posts: 2,015
    I don't really have a problem with motorcycles unless they stop in such a way that prevents me from entering the box.

    Buses, vans, cars, taxis, lorries, though. Grr. Especially when you see them stop carefully at the ASL well after the light's turned red I can sorta understand if they've been stuck there in a traffic jam and the light's turned, even if I don't like it.
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    This really annoys me too. Much of the time in London, motorbikes and mopeds line up across the ASL and there is no chance for cyclists to get in at all, so we're left mixed in with the motor traffic behind, something which ASLs were supposed to avoid.

    The problem is that the police never, ever enforced ASLs so they may as well not be there at all. I cycle past the motorcycles and plonk myself outside the ASL in front of the lot of them, or if there's a ped crossing, past that.

    Once I got stopped by a plod for doing this. I passed the ASL and the ped crossing and waited for the green light, once I had passed the green the plod stopped me, blatantly ignoring all the motorbikes and motorists who'd been sat in the ASL. I sent a snotty letter the City Police, the reply in so many words, says that they do not feel that a £60 fine + points on license is fair for motorists when a cyclist only gets a £30 fine. So basically we have selective policing. Until the police buck their ideas up I will continue to push past ASLs to get in front of motorists. If stopped and fined I will contest it.

    Either that or just jump the red....
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • Soul BoySoul Boy Posts: 359
    Not sure where I sit in this debate.....

    I do get miffed at motorbikes sat right across the ASL, as happens almost daily on my Streatham to City of London commute, and there are times when the whole flippin box is full of em.

    However; I would prefer motorbikes to use the ASL rather than block up the entrance and stop anyone, but I would also like them to respect the fact that they aren't really supposed to be there and make room for those who are.

    As an example, yesterday I was in an ASL, another cyclist a metre to my left, numerous others spread about when a guy on a motorbike squeezes in between us, then as the lights go green he tries to gun it, gets caugtht up behind a cyclist, then begins to rev his engine angrily in an attempt at intimidation. That really irked me. Had he observed the ASL and not barged in, no problem.

    There does seem to be a generally disregard, or as I suspect a lack of knowledge, especially within the scooter riders, but as with all walks of life, theres good and bad.
  • AndyMancAndyManc Posts: 1,393
    edited June 2009
    motorbikes and the ASL

    YES , I do mind , it gived the impression to all road users that ASL's are there to be abused or ignored.

    You also get 16/17yr old scroates that use it as a starting grid to race each other and take the p iss out of cyclists.


    and BTW , I've been a motor cyclist since I was 13 and I've owned 5 bikes.

    Specialized Hardrock Pro/Trek FX 7.3 Hybrid/Specialized Enduro/Specialized Tri-Cross Sport
  • LbaguleyLbaguley Posts: 161
    I use some very busy routes coming into the centre of London every day from Greenwich and see a lot of ASLs complete with motorbikes and scooters, and I don't generally have a problem with them being there. I'm usually the one of quickest of the cycles out of the ASLs and even the smallest engined scooters are rarely slower than me, so cause me very little hold-ups nor present any increase in danger to me.

    What I do object to, though, like the OP, is that increasingly, following the allowance of motorbikes into some of the bus lanes in London, motorbikes are using bus lanes that they are not allowed to use, cycles lanes and are completely filling the ASLs which are clearly marked as for cycles only.

    The perfect instance was on Monday, going north over Blackfriars Bridge (two lanes for cars etc, and a cycle lane with a solid white line on the nearside of the road) I was in the cycle lane when a young woman on a scooter was approaching the back of the queue of cars in the left of the two lanes. Instead of filtering on the right of the two lanes, or even down the middle, she wobbled about a bit then swerved into the cycle lane without looking just as I was coming past. I shouted a loud "NO", she looked horrified and apologised, but still followed me down the cycle lane. There is little hope for some people. On reaching the traffic lights at the end of the bridge, the cycle lane was partially blocked by motorbikes and scooters and the ASL was almost full of them. Anyone who knows this junction will attest to the fact that it is quite dangerous at the best of times, least of all at the moment when roadworks have narrowed the road and the cycle lane significantly.

    Sorry for being a bit ranty...
  • PorgyPorgy Posts: 4,525
    There are a (possibly) minoroty of motorcyclists who really take the p*ss.

    Since they've been allowed in the London bus lanes I've heckled or harrassed by bikers trying to get past me when I'm overtaking other cyclists moving away from a junction.

    They seem to expect that cyclists must all tootle along in the gutter behind the slowest common demoninator. So had this guy saying "c'mon mate, c'mon mate..." etc. right behind me and didn;t have the patience to wait 10 seconds for me to get past a couple of Bromptons pootling away from the lights.

    Others just ride as cloase and as fast as possible to intimidate cyclists back into the gutter. Until these "bad apples(?)" are dealt with the bus lane privelege should eb taken away.

    I argued with a motorcycle policeman a few weeks ago who was using all the ASLs - I said he was setting a bad example. He said he was using the ASL becasue he could better catch cyclists jumping the lights. :evil:
  • NifkinNifkin Posts: 58
    edited June 2009
    I also ride a motorbike as well as a bicycle; haven't driven anything with four wheels for years. When I'm cycling, I'm not too bothered by motorbikes in the ASLs, coz usually it means they are not between the cars or to the left or right of the traffic flow blocking my progress. When in motorbiker mode, I'm very careful when bicycles are about if I'm going to enter the ASL. As for bus lanes, when I'm on my moto I give cyclists as wide a berth as poss, as when the boot has been on the other foot it p*sses me right off when bikers whizz up the lane, cutting it too close and forcing me into the gutter (I also find that scooter monkeys are the worst offenders for this sort of thing). Also, I think motorbikers should stay out of dedicated cycle lanes and should always filter to the right of the traffic flow.

    Perhaps a solution to the ASL problem is to have staggered signals for bicycles and motorised traffic; if cyclists are given five seconds or so head start it would get them across the junction out of the way of the rest of the traffic.

    Nif :wink:
    He's the Chungwit, the biff-boff and the puff pastry hangman
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    I must admit for cyclists who travel faster than average, motorbikes in bus lanes are not a good thing. I frequently ride in the middle of the bus lane as I'm passing a string of slower moving cyclists on my left. Frequently I have had motorbikes whizz past me, with barelty an inch between me and them. Can be pretty scary.
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • Fireblade96Fireblade96 Posts: 1,123
    I come at this from the point of view of being both a cyclist and a motorcyclist.

    My experience of riding a motorbike through heavy traffic has made me a better and more assertive cyclist. Motorbikers are also much more aware of the risks posed s by the road surface, diesel spills and car drivers, are much more aware of what's going on around them than car drivers, and because of this are (mostly) much more likely to make allowances for cyclists..

    I have no problem with motorbikes in bus lanes. In Reading we've had this for >10 years and it's been very successful, helping to alleviate traffic congestion by allowing motorbikes to make progress in a safe manner rather than having to filter through the cars. If I'm cycling in a bus lane, a bus is much more intimidating and much more of a threat than a motorbike !

    My opinion on motorbikes using ASLs is less fixed. On the motorbike I would rarely use an ASL, but will regularly filter to the front on the queue of cars where safe to do so. I certainly wouldn't push into a space designed for cyclists, but nor would I as a cyclist try to block a motorbike.

    Mostly, however, I think we should be appreciating what we two-wheeled road users have in comon. Needlessly antagonistic actions from any road user help no-one.

    And finally, there are c0cks on motorbikes. There are c0cks on bicycles too. And in cars. And on foot. That's life, let's not stereotype people.

    (Except for BMW drivers)
    Misguided Idealist
  • PorgyPorgy Posts: 4,525
    (Except for BMW drivers)

    you leave my sister out of this :evil:

  • nasahapleynasahapley Posts: 717
    I've never been bothered by motorbikes in ASLs, though I can imagine it's more of a problem in London than up here in Yorkshire. It's probably for that reason that I feel ok about using them myself regularly when I'm on the motorbike. But motorbikes in cycle lanes? I've never seen it myself, but would regard it as well and truly taking the p**s.

    Btw I liked this a lot:
    In the end, motorbikes are really just thin two wheeled cars.

    Yessss....just like cyclists are really just slim, healthy van drivers, and inside every fat git is a thin git trying to get out (copyright Blackadder 1985 or thereabouts).
  • AndyMancAndyManc Posts: 1,393

    And finally, there are c0cks on motorbikes. There are c0cks on bicycles too. And in cars. And on foot. That's life, let's not stereotype people.

    (Except for BMW drivers)

    I consider a 'c ock' in a one and half ton 4x4 far more dangerous and offensive than a 'c ock' on a brompton.

    (Not taking into account the environmental/health issues)

    Specialized Hardrock Pro/Trek FX 7.3 Hybrid/Specialized Enduro/Specialized Tri-Cross Sport
  • NifkinNifkin Posts: 58
    AndyManc wrote:
    a 'c ock' on a brompton.

    Surely the term should be a 'clown' on a Brompton? The collective noun for Bromptons being, of course, a "big top of Bromptons" :lol::lol::lol::lol:
    He's the Chungwit, the biff-boff and the puff pastry hangman
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    mark1964 wrote:
    I've read a bit about this in these forums and I think that those cyclists who say they don't have a problem with it are encouraging the use of the ASL by bikers which, in turn,leads to the ASL being blocked by said bikers and thus people in these forums moan about it. That's a lovely vicious circle, isn't it?.

    Surely the last thing we want as a community is encouraging this sort of thing.


    I think on balance I'd rather have motorbikes starting ahead of me when the lights go green than behind. I don't tend to see ASLs as some kind of eden - I'll always just make sure I stop wherever's safest and most logical to do so, whether it's to the left of traffic, ahead of it, or behind it.
  • roger_merrimanroger_merriman Posts: 6,165
    I normally find the sweet spot on the bike is one or two cars behind, close enought that you'll get though on one cycle of the lights and so that you can just slowly build up speed behind the cars.
  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,132
    Motorbikes in ASL's are a real pain, most ASL's are FULL of motorbikes on my way into work. It basically means that there is nowhere to go when I have filtered to the front of a stationary lane of traffic and often puts me in a dangerous position when the traffic starts moving. Really not good. Motorkbikes in bus lanes are also dangerous IMO, pass far too close and far too fast. I'm not saying they have no right to be there - we all need to share the roads, but they definitely make cycling less secure and that is likely to have an adverse impact on the amount of people commuting by bike - not what Boris had in mind surely?
  • mark1964mark1964 Posts: 54
    For those who are (vaguely) interested and have google earth, the problem junction is here: ... &t=h&hl=en

    Yesterday I saw three motorbikes occupy this ASL with a further two bikers who squeezed down the cycle lane to the right and into the adjacent ASL.
    "Anything for a weird life"

    Zaphod Beeblebrox
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