Bus lanes – can you ever drive in one? It seems that the vast majority of drivers think not. Wherever I drive, I find that many people seem to have a problem with bus lanes. So many drivers avoid them unnecessarily and create long queues in one lane, when two are available. There are many times when I’ve breezed down the left hand lane on my own or as a passenger and passed dozens of stationary cars. I think the record was something in the region of 60!
How do I Know When to Avoid Them?
Generally, bus lane signs are at regular intervals, around every 100 metres. When no time is shown on the sign, then it should be assumed that the lane is in operation 24 hours and avoid using it. Many bus lanes only operate part time however, and this is where people seem to get confused.
For instance, you may see the first sign when you are heading towards a city centre. This is to keep drivers out of the bus lane during the morning’s busiest time. You should avoid using it between 7am to 10am on weekdays. Any other time of the day or on a weekend you can use that lane as normal. It really is that simple.
As you are heading away from the city centre, you may see the second sign instead, indicating that the bus lane (on that side of the road only) operates between 4pm to 6:30pm on weekdays, and again can be freely used by anyone outside of those times.
Don’t be confused by thinking the bus lane times operate on both sides of the road at the same time. Only the sign on the side of the road you are driving on applies to you.
Too many drivers have a sheep-like mentality, and don’t want to be the one who does something different. If they see a queue they will join it rather than risk a dirty look from another person who thinks they are doing something wrong. Don’t be woolly headed, just read the signs! If the bus lane is clear and available then get in there and use it!