The national government is considering a plan establish special lanes on toll roads reserved for motorcyclists, allowing two-wheel vehicles on the transportation arterials for the first time.
“The plan is just a concept at this point and is still being evaluated,” Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto said on Thursday. “If we’re to allow motorcycles onto toll roads, we’d have to make special lanes for them to prevent accidents between motorcycles and cars.”
He added that the only stretch of toll road where motorcycles were currently allowed was the Surabaya-Madura (Suramadu) Bridge in East Java, which was designed to separate car and motorcycle traffic into different lanes.
Even then, authorities were careful about limiting the number of motorcycles traveling across the bridge, Djoko said.
He said this restriction was in place because of many motorcyclists’ poor driving habits and their tendency to stop arbitrarily along the road.
“So we’ll have to carefully consider whether it would be feasible to allow motorcycles onto toll roads,” the minister explained.
Motorcycles are prohibited from entering toll roads because their low speed relative to cars increases the risk of serious injury or death in the event of an accident.
Djoko said the prohibition would also remain in place as long as large numbers of motorcyclists continued to break traffic laws. “If you look at the way they drive on regular roads, they’re often so reckless,” he said. “So if we do allow them onto toll roads, then they’ll have to be restricted to their own separate lane.”
The first significant stretch of toll road that motorcyclists will be allowed to use is the Ngurah Rai-Nusa Dua-Benoa highway in southern Bali, which is under construction and set to open in July.
Like the Suramadu Bridge, the Bali toll road will feature separate lanes for cars and motorcycles. Motorcyclists will have to pay Rp 4,000 (41 cents) to enter the highway, while vehicle drivers will be charged Rp 10,000.
State Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan previously said he had asked Jasa Marga, a state-owned toll road operator, to conduct a study on the feasibility of allowing motorcyclists to use the Jakarta’s network of toll roads.
He proposed building extra lanes running along existing toll roads that would be reserved for use by motorcyclists.
“I’m seriously considering this plan and I’ve asked Jasa Marga to carry out a study on this issue,” he said earlier this month.
Dahlan argued that with the number of new motorcycles hitting Indonesia’s streets growing at a breakneck pace, the network of regular roads would not be sufficient to accommodate them all and they would eventually have to be allowed to use toll roads.