Motorcycles in bus lane trial

We’re assessing how motorcyclists use our roads and how to get the most out of our road network. From June 2019 we will be extending the Motorcycle in bus lane trial so we can gain a better understanding of the mobility benefits to riders.

Project update - May 2019

We’re installing motorcycle protection rails on existing guard rails to protect motorcyclists from the posts.

These will be installed on the Eastern Freeway between Chandler Highway, Kew and Hoddle Street, Abbotsford (city bound side of the road).

Our crews will be working nightly between 8pm - 5am from 19-26 May.

During these works, there will be: 

  • closure of the far left lane
  • diversions around work area supported by on-site traffic management
  • a speed reduction to ensure the safety of our crews and motorists. 

Trial sites

The trial sites are: 

  • Hoddle Street bus lane (southbound) between Eastern Freeway and Victoria Parade 
  • Eastern Freeway emergency stopping lane and bus lane (westbound) between Chandler Highway on-ramp and Hoddle Street off-ramp
  • Victoria Parade bus lane (westbound) between Hoddle Street and Nicholson Street
  • Victoria Parade bus lane (eastbound) between Brunswick Street and Hoddle Street

The Hoddle Street trial has been operational since 20 November 2011.  

We introduced the following safety treatments to address identified crash risks to continue the trial

  • ‘Watch for motorcycles in bus lane’ warning signs 
  • Traffic signals at Hoddle Street and Abbot Grove, Abbotsford.

From June 2019, we’ll be extending the trial onto the Eastern Freeway and Victoria Parade. To do so we will also be introducing the following new safety treatments:

  • 'Watch for motorcycles in bus lane’ warning signs
  • Motorcycle protecting rails on guard rail
  • Repairs to bus lane road surfaces
  • Removal of some parking to improve sight lines on approaches to intersections

We will continue to monitor and evaluate the trial sites over the next five years. 

Read the Motorcycles in bus lane trial Q&A’s below.

For more information on VicRoads Use of Bus Lanes by Other Modes Policy.

Who can use a bus lane?

  • Buses, bicycles and coaches are permitted under the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2017 to travel in all bus lanes, unless signed otherwise.
  • Taxis and class VHA/B/C (hire cars) vehicles can only travel in bus lanes where signage indicates it is permitted.
  • Motorcycles can only travel in bus lanes where the signs indicate it is permitted.

Road Rule 158(1)(a) ‘Exceptions to driving in special purpose lanes etc.’ states that:
The driver of any vehicle may drive for up to the permitted distance (100m) in a…bus lane, if it is necessary for the driver to drive in the lane or enter or leave the road.

Why were these trial sites selected?

Hoddle Street was selected initially due to the high volume of motorcyclists and other vehicles using the road. Victoria Parade and the Eastern Freeway were also selected due to the high number of motorcyclists and vehicles using these roads.  These sites allow us to work with a larger pool of data whilst we continue to monitor and evaluate the trial sites over the next five years.

When can motorcycles use the bus lanes?

Motorcycles can currently use the Hoddle Street bus lane as outlined in the table below. 

From June 2019, once signage and safety treatments are in place, motorcycles will be able to use the Eastern Freeway and Victoria Parade bus lanes during the following times as outlined below

 
Location Bus Lanes Hours 
Hoddle Street bus lane (southbound) between Eastern Freeway and Victoria Parade 24 hours, 7 days
Eastern Freeway bus lane (westbound) from the Trenerry Crescent overpass to Hoddle Street 24 hours, 7 days
Victoria Parade bus lane (westbound) between Hoddle Street and Nicholson Street 24 hours, 7 days
Victoria Parade bus lane (eastbound) between Brunswick Street and Hoddle Street 24 hours, 7 days

Can motorcycles use the citybound Eastern Freeway emergency lane?

Like buses, motorcycles will be able to use the emergency stopping lane and bus lane between the Chandler Highway on-ramp to Hoddle Street.  Motorcycles will be able to use the emergency stopping lane once signage and safety treatments are in place, expected in June 2019. Note that access to the emergency stopping lane will only be permitted between 7 – 10.30am, Monday to Friday.

Motorcycles heading citybound will not be permitted to use the Eastern Freeway emergency stopping lane prior to the Chandler Highway on-ramp.

What is a B-lantern?

A B-lantern is a traffic signal that allow buses to pass traffic queued at an intersection.  All permitted users of the bus lane can use the B-signal to proceed at intersections.  

Motorcycles are able to proceed on a B-lantern at intersections located on bus lanes that are part of the trial.  The exception is the Hoddle Street and Victoria Street intersection, where the B-lantern only applies to buses.

Can motorcycles use the bus lane to turn right (hook turn) from Hoddle Street into Victoria Parade heading westbound?

No, motorcycles will need to continue to use the centre median right turn lanes.

Did the Hoddle Street bus lane motorcycle trial show any impact on bus operations by motorcycles using the bus lane?

Through video observations and feedback from bus operators on Hoddle Street, we found that the bus drivers were aware of motorcycles using the bus lane, but they had no effect on bus operations, we will continue to monitor and evaluate bus operations over the next five years.

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