melbourne bus lanes road hazard
Melbourne bus lanes

Motorcycles in bus lanes trial extended

Motorcyclists can now use more bus lanes in Melbourne for the next five years under an extension to an already six-year bus-lane trial.

The Victorian Government started a “six-month trial” in Hoddle St in 2011 allowing riders to use the bus lane in peak periods. The trial was extended in 2017 with the Fitzgerald St bus lane added, but still no report has been issued.

Now the trial will be expanded to include the Eastern Freeway inbound from the Chandler Highway to Hoddle Street, and Victoria Parade between Hoddle Street and Brunswick Street.

Three-year battle

Victorian Motorcycle Council media spokesman John Eacott says they have battled three years to get the trial extended.

“I fronted one of the senior VicRoads guys at the Minister’s Motorcycle Expert Advisory Panel after he said they were unsafe,” John says.

“I tackled him about using statistics from outside the bus lane times and he was sent away to do further research.

“At least we’ve now got this.”

However, John is concerned that the trial is being funded by the Motorcycle Safety Levy to which the VMC has long objected.

“No other section of the road-using public has to fund their own safety. It’s appalling,” he says.

Bus lanes

Bus lane in use in London lane filtering happiest commuters A British survey has found that riding a motorcycle makes you safer on a bicycle and vice versa, while other surveys show riders are the safest motorists. kerb motorists lanes
Riders can use bus lanes in London

Riders can only legally ride in bus lanes in NSW and the ACT in Australia. In most states, only bicycles, taxis, limousines and emergency vehicles can use these lanes.

However, in several major cities around the world, including London and Tel Aviv, riders are allowed to use bus lanes.

Western Australia also started a one-year trial for motorbikes and taxis in bus lanes in South and Beaufort streets, Perth, from March 2015. There has been no official report issued since.

If there are concerns about safety, why are cyclists allowed to use these lanes in most states?

Surely they are far more vulnerable because of the speed differential with motorised transport and their smaller profile on the road.

Levy package

The Victorian Government says the bus lane trial is part of a $1 million road safety package for motorcyclists funded by their levy.

They also include:

  • A learner and novice rider pack will be developed containing tips, resources, a high-visibility vest and other “safety” equipment;
  • VicRoads surveillance officers will be trained and equipped to better identify road imperfections and other potential hazards for motorcyclists; and
  • The MotoCAP motorcycle protective clothing star rating system will be “further promoted to help riders make better choices when it comes to buying safety gear”.

The Motorcycle Safety Levy was introduced in October 2002 to provide specific funding to reduce motorcycle-related road trauma.

Motorcycle Riders Association Victoria spokesman and Damien Codognotto says MEAP was ignored in this “government million dollar PR stunt”.

“The whole thing is aimed at the rider being to blame for all or most of the 2019 rider casualty rate,” he says.


  1. As a new rider and one that uses the Easter Fwy, this news was great. However, there is a 2 inch height difference in the bitumen between the emergency lane and the freeway. I contacted vicroads to say this is not safe and they replied saying that bikes are not permitted and only allowed to use the bus lane across hoddle st.

    is this true? has something changed?

  2. Motorcyclists are able to use bus lanes in almost all city’s in the UK mow. This has led to a reduction of at least 40% in accidents , 42% in London. This is a huge win for everyone, less burden on hospitals, employers and obviously the riders, especially those mostly self employed delivery riders. It’s a no brainer and all states need to get on with it and allow motorcyclists to ride safe.

  3. so they have so much money from us riders that they have to use an excuse ( a study ) to see if riding in bus lanes is safe come on. a kinder garden kid could probably have more input these days.

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