MPs barred from sneaking into 2012 Olympic lanes

Updated: 

Cheeky ministers thinking about sneaking onto the Olympic Road Network (ORN) during the 2012 games have been told to think again.

The controversial ORN Games Lanes will be set aside for members of the so-called Olympic family, to help ease their way through the sardine tin traffic situation that's expected to engulf the Capital during the 2012 Olympics.

But there are fears that chancing ministers will try to hog the temporary Games Lanes, using misplaced Parliamentary privilege to get through London more quickly.

That will not be the case though, confirmed sports minister Baroness Garden in Parliament. "Will ministers use ORN Games Lanes? The answer is no," she said.

Around 18,000 athletes, officials, VIPs and members of the press comprise the Olympic family that can use the 109-mile ORN, which opens two days before the Games start and closes two days after they end. It covers one percent of London's road network.

Despite Baroness Garden's denial, however, some ministers will be able to use the ORN. According to Olympic organiser Locog, the Prime Minister will have access, and most likely those from the Culture and Sports department.

Whether any other minister caught using a Games Lane will be fined like everyone else remains to be seen, of course.

The ORN is controversial because it's expected to contribute to the Olympic traffic nightmare in London by reducing the regular road network at a time when it will already be stretched to its limit.

Criticism of the ORN extends to fears that it will endanger lives, the result of closing pedestrian crossings and overcrowded roads beside the lanes.

The fine for an unauthorised driver using a Games Lane is £200 – half if paid promptly – although that too has been criticised for being too low, on the basis that a full car could park up on a Games Lane and spread the fine between the occupants as a cheap way of parking. Who'd do that, though, really?