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Norwegian motorcyclists: will motorcycles still be allowed on bus lanes?

The Norwegian national road administration wants to make it easier for heavy traffic on the E6 towards Oslo from the north and south by turning several bus and public transport lanes into heavy traffic lanes for buses and trucks. The same measure is also being considered from the west on the E18. The heavy traffic lane will also be open for taxis, but motorcycles will no longer be allowed to use these specific lanes.

The background for this change is to prioritize freight and business transport. Another reason for this is the desire to get more commuters to switch from car to public transport.

In 1980, Norwegian Motorcycle Union NMCU – a member of FEMA – was the driving force behind motorcycles gaining access the public transport lanes. This access has been and is undoubtedly one of the main reasons why many people use motorbikes as a means of transport in and out of Norwegian cities in general, and Oslo in particular. The mobility of motorcyclists has over the decades proved superior in urban areas. In addition, the motorcycle is a means of transport that greatly relieves traffic congestion both on the way into Oslo from the E6 and from the E18.

The motorcycle has not negatively affected the flow of traffic in public transport lanes in the past, nor will it affect the flow in the future. However, the motorcycle does not thrive in stationary and heavy traffic where the motorcyclist has to turn to so-called ‘lane splitting’. The alternative is to stand in a queue with warm riding gear in the scorching sun. Standing still in one of Norway’s many tunnels, inhaling exhaust gases obviously is not a good idea either.

Arild Lind, general manager of NMCU.

“We clearly say no to heavy traffic lanes without motorcycles and react strongly when we now register the consequences of the new proposal from the Norwegian Road Administration,” says Arild Lind who is the general manager of NMCU. Together with Bikelife Norge NMCU represents around 40,000 active motorcyclists in Norway. “The new arrangement was communicated by the Norwegian Road Administration in a press release in June 2024 and it is only now we understand that it means that motorcycles are not allowed to ride in these lanes.”

“NMCU’s appeal to clarify the situation is supported by many other organisations, such as the motorcycle dealers association, the motorcycle importers association, the automobile association, the traffic school association, the Women’s International Motorcycle Association, Bikelife and, Norway’s largest online portal for motorcycle news, and, which coordinates riding on motorcycles to tourist places in Norway. Furthermore, we predict that more organisations that now understand the consequences for motorcycles will join us in the future”, says Arild Lind from NMCU. He goes on: “The Norwegian Public Roads Administration has forgotten to consult anyone. This has happened without the proposal having been subject to a thorough consultation among car and motorcycle organisations in Norway.”

“The motorcyclists’ organisations have for many years worked closely with the road authorities,” says Arild Lind, “We therefore believe that the introduction here is due to a lack of knowledge, haste and simply a lack of a thorough consultation round. It is important to have a good safety dialogue, which was even strongly emphasized by Minister Jon-Ivar Nygård when we last met. Therefore we hope and expect the National Roads Administration to quickly resolve this and welcome motorcyclists back to these lanes.”

Written by Wim Taal

Source: NMCU

Top photograph courtesy of NMCU

This article is subject to FEMA’s copyright