Bikes in GTA HOV lanes ? vote

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What could be a last-ditch battle for
the right of motorcyclists to use High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes
in Toronto will take place Wednesday, Nov. 28, at Toronto city hall.

The Motorcyclists Confederation of
Canada (MCC) and the Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council (MICC) will try to
convince officials at a meeting of the Public Works committee that
keeping motorcycles with only one rider out of HOV lanes is bad
business.

But a report by city staff, dated Nov. 9,
2007, concludes that motorcyclists should not be included as they will not be any safer in HOV lanes. Furthermore it says
that there is "no data" to support claims that motorcycles are
less environmentally harmful than cars, and that if they were now to be included, signs and measures
informing the public that single-rider motorcycles may occupy HOV
lanes would cost up to $425,000.

City Councillor Case Ootes, who last
year successfully pushed for free on-street parking for motorcycles at metered spaces
in Toronto, has asked
that interested motorcyclists speak up at the meeting.

"Committee
members need to hear from people who are interested in this issue,
and who want motorcycles and scooters with one rider to be allowed to
drive in HOV lanes," Ootes says. He suggests that motorcycling
associations send one or two persons to the Nov. 28 meeting to speak
to the committee.

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Toronto Councillor Case Ootes

The MCC and the MMIC favour HOV use for motorcycles, and intend to make presentations at the meeting — the MCC represents riders while the MMIC represents the motorcycle industry.

MCC president Peter Jacobs says a report produced in London, England, a few years ago states that motorcyclists are indeed safer in the British version of HOV lanes, and while motorcycles do produce some pollutants, and sometimes in greater quantities than cars, steady progress is being made in reducing motorcycle emissions.

Jacobs also notes that when Toronto allowed free parking for motorcycles on city streets, no additional signs needed to be put up.

MMIC president Bob Ramsay suggests that a sticker showing a single motorcycle rider could be placed on existing signs at low cost.

Ramsay notes that motorcycle and scooter use is growing, that letting motorcycles use HOV lanes would reduce congestion elsewhere, and that technology such as catalytic converters and systems that inject air into exhaust ports are reducing the outflow of pollutants from some new motorcycles and scooters. 

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