Is it just me, or are there more motorcyclists using bike lanes to find their way to the front of traffic queues at traffic lights. I really don't care for sitting behind a noisy motorbike belching out exhaust fumes while I wait for lights to change. Rightly or wrongly I also feel that the one little concession that cyclists seem to have (dedicated lanes) should be reserved exclusively for those who get off their bums each day and ride.
It is often difficult to record number plates while on your bike, but on two occasions I have reported motorcyclists using bike lanes to the police (who have issued them with a warning). But in reality it all seems pretty pointless as the motorcyclists who I have spoken to, have pretty well told me to stuff off. It seems that if its road, it equally belongs to them.
No, it isn't just you. I've noticed the same thing. In addition to motorcycles using bike lanes at and leading up to traffic lights there is the reasonably new issue of scooters using bike lanes whenever they can to stay out of the traffic.
When I'm not riding my bike I can normally be found riding my motorcycle but my opinion falls in favour of the cyclist on both counts. Motorcycles can lane split if they want (I don't) but they should be leaving the bike lane clear for bikes. Realistically, motorcycles don't cause that much of an issue unless they are trying to push past cyclists to get to the front but I've never seen that happen. When the lights change they are gone before you know it but it is still a bike lane and we cyclists should not have to put up with having their noise and pollution in our faces.
There are two things that worry me about scooters. The first is that if the riders feel the need to use the bike lane they are doing so because they are not confident riding in traffic or feel they are on an underpowered machine and can't keep up with the flow of traffic. Either way you have to wonder how safe they are when the bike lane ends. The second is that as soon as oil prices go up again there will be more and more of them on the roads. You can buy a cheap Chinese made scooter for less than $2000 new. As the numbers of cyclists and scooters increase we are going to see accidents in bike lanes unless scooter speeds in bikes lanes are regulated.
A few months ago I did see a scooter rider get cleaned up in a bike lane, going down Pulteney street. Car did a right turn in front of him and cleaned him up. If he was on a bike he would have seen it coming / never have been travelling that fast. Especially since all the other traffic was stationary.
Justice was served? The rider was okay, but his scooter wasn't. A good result in my opinion.
I've seen many cycles with small petrol motors and electic bikes on the Westside Bikeway and in surrounding bike lanes. They probably assume that their machines occupy a grey area. One can argue that human powered bikes are more vulnerable (slower acceleraton, fatigue factor) and I would certainly like to see fewer non-human powered cycles in our lanes. Having said that, I wouldn't want to ride one of these very light, underpowered cycles as part of regular traffic. I'm not sure what my level of outrage should be. Motorcycles using bike lanes, on the other hand, appears clear cut; they have no place in bike lanes and this should be enforced.
There seems to have been a substancial increase of these petrol driven bikes on the road this summer and all too often the riders seem to be riding dangerously, riding on the pavement, crossing intersections by using the pedestrian crossings, powering around corners and crossing into the opposing traffic lane.
Unfortunately it isn't just the boys but the men too. Mind you the lads on their over-powered sports bikes are the biggest threats but there is a resurgence in 40 - 50 year olds getting back into riding motorcycles. Some of these guy's memories of what they used to do on bike 10, 15 or 20 yrs ago doesn't equate to their current skill level and they are increasingly getting into trouble.