Written Answers. - Traffic Regulations.

Question:

688 Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if his Department has given consideration to a proposal to allow motor cyclists to use existing bus lanes in the interests of reducing the number of cars congesting Dublin city centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19495/00]

The primary purpose of bus lanes and quality bus corridors is to facilitate mass transport in urban areas. Accordingly, access to bus lanes has been restricted to omnibuses, large public ser vice vehicles and, in relation to with flow bus lanes only, taxis.

Pedal cyclists have been afforded access to with flow bus lanes since the inception of such facilities,inter alia, in view of road safety considerations. A more pro-active promotion of cycling as a transport mode has been advanced through the more recent introduction of quality bus corridors which are commonly provided with associated dedicated cycle tracks for pedal cyclists.

Access to bus lanes for motor cyclists is not necessitated on road safety grounds and could compromise the safe cycling environment for pedal cyclists which bus lanes and quality bus corridors aim to provide. There are, accordingly, no proposals to extend the use of bus lanes to motor cycles at this time.

I understand the UK authorities have recently conducted several pilot schemes to study the safety benefits of the use of bus lanes by motor cycles, to both motor cyclists and cyclists alike. These studies have proven to be inconclusive and the UK authorities are maintaining their policy that motor cycles should not be allowed to use bus lanes.