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28/06/2011 // INFO Leave a comment

Taking your bike for a bus ride

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BusRack

In a marriage of sustainable transport, the Canadian city of Montreal is the latest North American city to allow its public bus transport to carry bikes. When we say bikes, we are not talking of the Brompton and Dahons of this world either.

Bus and bike commuter schemes are popular in the USA and Canada with many transport authorities going for a front rack system. Canada in particular appears to be a leader in this field with cities such as Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec City using bike racks on the front of their buses. Toronto will have racks on its entire fleet of public buses by the end of 2012.

Société de transport de Montréal (STM), Montreal’s transport corporation, is piloting a project that will see 25 buses carry a cycling rack on the front of the buses on two routes in the city. Each rack will be able to carry two bikes. The two bus routes, the 140 and 180, were chosen due to the bus lines being close to popular cycling lane routes as the city tries to encourage more people to commute by bike.

Will we see bike racks in the UK?

The situation in the UK, with bus operators being mainly privately owned, is less enthusiastic. Bus companies have been reticent to put bicycle racks on the back of buses, nevermind them being on the front of buses.

In England, rear mounted cycle racks on buses have been the subject of trials in Brighton and Cumbria but time delays in loading the bicycle on the rack were seen as unacceptable to operators.

Further to this, a research project from the Department of Transport, which was completed in 2003, looked at whether bike racks on buses increased the risk and severity of injury to vulnerable road users if they were struck by a bus with a front mounted rack. It concluded that the fitting of bike racks and bikes, of the type tested, increased the risk of life-threatening head and chest injuries and long-term disabling leg injuries, particularly for children, in accidents involving pedestrians.

Wales and Scotland

Some bus operators in Wales do use rear mounted cycle racks on some services, while recently some members of the Scottish Parliament gave there support to a campaign to get bus operators in some more rural Scottish regions to allow bicycles to be carried on buses, either in the inside of buses or strapped onto the buses themselves.

Time to reconsider?

With more and more Passenger Transport Executives and cities keen to promote cycling as a way of commuting maybe its time the issue was looked at again in this country.

See also

Disability and cycling

Haulage industry launches cycle code of conduct

from Going Going Bike – Auctions, Bike News, Cycle Stuff

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