A NETWORK of bus lanes are going to be opened up to allow motorcyclists to travel more freely around Reading.

Motorcyclists have been free to ride in seven bus lanes in King’s Road, Oxford Road, Wokingham Road, Basingstoke Road and Bath Road following an experiment by the now defunct Berkshire County Council in 1997.

But traffic bosses agreed to 28-day public consultation before it opens 13 more bus lanes and two more bus gates around the town to motorbikes, excluding main routes around the town centre.

Proposed bus lanes to be approved for motorbikes include Southampton Street northbound, Vastern Road southbound, London Road heading out of town, Norcot Road, Duke Street and Gun Street between 11am-4pm and 7pm-7am as well as the bus gates in Duke Street and Stanshawe Road.

But motorcyclists will not be permitted to use the bus lanes in town centre itself including West Street, Bridge Street, Vastern Road northbound and Forbury Road eastbound to give buses and public transport priority access and make life easier for pedestrians.

None of the part-time bus gates including Southcote Lane and St Mary’s Butts and the full time bus gate at Cheapside will be opened up for motorcycle access.

Borough transport leader Cllr Tony Page welcomed the proposals, and said: “The core in the town centre will remain excluded for self-evident reasons.

“But we have a whole raft of bus lanes where we are proposing to allow motorcycles and this will obviously be of great benefit to motorcyclists.”

The consultation will last for 28 days, giving motorists and residents an opportunity to provide feedback to the council and if no objections are raised the street signs will be changed to indicate motorcycle access.