Edinburgh & District and West Lothian Motorcycle Action Groups have been campaigning to use the Greenways in Edinburgh as a safer alternative to the current stop-start, low-visibility-in-traffic method of commuting into Edinburgh. Commuting by motorcycle produces fewer emissions, contributes less to traffic jams and takes up a lot less parking space in the city centre. However, access to Edinburgh Bus Lanes rumbles on...
The event that happened on the 19th September 2009 was a motorcycle run from Hermiston Park and Ride to the car park adjacent to Holyrood, comprising organisers, marshals, police escort and about 100 machines. The run left Hermiston at 12:00 and took about ¾ of an hour to reach Holyrood, where there were speeches about the purpose of the run and current MAG and BMF projects before everyone dispersed.
The motorcyclist is a significant yet almost invisible part of the road using population, never being a part of queues or congestion and taking up much less parking space than other road users (at least five machines can park in one standard parking space), yet still contributes ‘above weight’ in accident statistics. This is why we organise these events – to raise awareness and to get noticed in the right way.
The event was a 'Celebration of Motorcycling', to raise public awareness of the versatility of these machines in an urban environment and promote the idea of the City becoming yet more 'motorcycle friendly'. This included publicising the case for allowing motorcycle use of bus lanes and the proven increase in rider safety in cities where this has already occurred. Most recent was Plymouth's experiment to allow bikes to use bus lanes - one third less motorcycle casualties during the test period - where the experiment has now been made permanent. If Edinburgh followed this example it would send a clear message of intent to the two wheeled population and this in turn would promote Edinburgh as a major destination for motorcycle tourism, a growing market which has a minimal effect on traffic congestion yet a noticeable effect on local income.
Currently the main argument against us is that 'Very few European cities do allow motorcycle use of bus lanes'. This is true. However, very few European cities actually have bus lanes, and most that do allow us to use them. So a lack of complete comprehension by the decision makers is our main obstacle to overcome right now. Which brings us back to the run on 19th September. The local motorcyclists attempt to be seen. And heard properly. And to be given fair consideration in matters directly involving them. Instead of being quietly rubber stamped out of the way (again).