Comment: Tailbacks should become less common

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The most important thing that motorists want to see from road regulations is that they are clear and fair.

Drivers pay a lot in taxes for the privilege of motoring in Britain and also face the risk of not unsubstantial fines for even minor transgressions of road and parking rules.

No one is suggesting that the laws of the road should not be properly enforced. But when punishments are being dished out drivers are entitled to expect that the dos and don’ts of the road are spelled out as clearly as possible beforehand.

One of the biggest gripes about the new bus lane camera regime has been some of the anomalies that have been thrown up by the way fines are issued.

Cases of drivers being fined for turning left slightly too early or for entering an empty bus lane to manoeuvre round a stationary car waiting to turn right in the outside lane have brought the system into disrepute.

So today’s move to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the operating hours of the Greenways has to be welcomed.

Anyone who uses the Capital’s roads and knows the operating hours of the Greenways will have seen drivers avoiding the bus lanes like the plague even when they are not actually in operation.

There is great confusion about when the bus lanes operate and rather than risk a fine many drivers have stuck to the outside lane beside Greenways at all times causing unnecessary tailbacks.

Having uniform times for as many of the bus lanes as possible is a sensible move which should help make the rules clearer in drivers’ minds, but it won’t change their behaviour overnight.

It will be interesting to see how many will start to use the bus lanes at off-peak times once the operating hours are simplified.

There does seem to be a wider confusion surrounding the use of bus lanes and how they should be treated when they are not in operation. The way many drivers stick rigidly to the outside lane at all times suggest many forget about the benefits of using both lanes when they are available in order to keep traffic flowing.

If the rule changes are accompanied by drivers brushing up on their highway etiquette, then tailbacks on some of our busiest roads should become a little less common at off-peak times.