Motorcyclists are one step closer to using high occupancy vehicle (HOV)
lanes in Toronto, following a meeting of the city’s Public Works Committee.
The committee voted tonight (Wednesday) to allow plated scooters and motorcycles into HOV lanes controlled by Toronto. The decision was unanimous, according to Peter Jacobs of the Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada (MCC), and was based primarily on matters of safety.
However, before the decision becomes law, Toronto city council will have to pass it. That could happen at a Dec. 13 council meeting.
Jacobs, who is president of the MCC, appeared before the committee to refute a city staff report that suggested
motorcyclist safety would not be improved by use of HOV lanes and
argued that laws forbidding use of HOV lanes by single-rider
motorcycles should not be changed.
Armed with information from an ongoing experiment in London,
England; a Transportation
Research Board study in Virginia; the Rider Training Institute; and the BC Safety Council,
Jacobs claimed there would be positive impacts on safety, traffic efficiency, and
the environment if motorcyclists were given a green HOV light.
There was a decrease in motorcycle collisions of up to 31 per cent in a London study of motorcycles in bus
(similar to HOV) lanes, according to Jacobs. And the Virginia study, which
looked at two years of use by motorcyclists in HOV lanes there, found that the motorcycle crash
rate was significantly lower in HOV lanes.
Further, the Virginia study noted that
motorcycles composed no more than three per cent of traffic in HOV
lanes and did not contribute in a significant way to congestion.
Information that Jacobs received from
the Rider Training Institute suggests that allowing motorcyclists
to use HOV lanes will improve their conspicuity, and the BC Safety
Council provided some argument, stating that motorcycles are “by definition a relatively
high occupancy vehicle.”
20 years of HOV use in British Columbia, the safety council says “there have been no problems of significance or consistency
arising from the use of H.O.V. lanes by motorcycles."
Time to call your local councillor and let them know how you’d like the Dec 13 vote to go?