Times article "Cycle-only filters at traffic lights to make roads safer"

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  • Times article "Cycle-only filters at traffic lights to make roads safer"
  • warton
    Member

    good. the cycle boxes work well for a few cyclists, but when you’ve got lots, the ones that can’t get in the box end up on the left side of trucks etc, by design. It’s a very flawed system.

    wors
    Member

    You’re lucky if you have a cycle lane leading upto the boxes around here..

    brakes
    Member

    what is this ‘technicality’?
    I’m not sure what else they can do other than widen the entrance or put it on the other side.

    JPR
    Member

    what is this ‘technicality’?

    There’s only a dashed line leading from the cycle lane into the advanced stop zone. The rest of the line is a solid line and as such isn’t supposed to be crossed to enter the advance stop zone.

    It mentions making the cycle boxes 7.5m long, which would make them less likely to fill up, but I can’t see any way of doing away with the gutter approaches without some major physical changes to the road and pavement, not just painting lines on the road.

    Now you mention it, JPR, maybe that is the only change, allowing cyclists, but not motorists to cross that line.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Never been convinced the law on entering ASLs from the left makes any difference- most people don’t know about it, everyone else ignores it, as far as I can tell.

    But the left filter lane definitely does encourage people to ride into bad places, I think people just assume that the road signs aren’t going to lead them into the valley of death…

    (but then, remember that thread on here a while back with the cyclist being punched? Loads of STW contributors thought that the cyclist shouldn’t have ridden out into the ASL box and should have stayed in the gutter. So if a cycling enthusiast site comes up with such stupidity what hope for the casual cyclist?)

    Is that the one with the car passenger doing the punching ?

    If so, yes, first couple of cyclists ride up to the ASL in the gutter and stay there.
    Next couple of cyclists ride up the gutter, then move right, in to the centre of the lane, because the box is only one bike long.
    Car driver then enters box, further to the right, to get level with bikes.
    So, is the idea of a 7.5m box just to allow more bikes to stop end to end in the gutter, or is it to give room in front of the first car to allow bikes to easily take up the full width ?

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer
    Subscriber

    same as mainland EU

    make bike lights go green 5 sec before motorised lights, also with induction loops on ASL and gutter lane which DO trigger with bikes/cyclists

    this will cost a little bit of money, unlike the usual trick of painting the road

    ninfan
    Member

    s the idea of a 7.5m box just to allow more bikes to stop end to end in the gutter,

    Would mean that cyclist at the ASL would be visible to HGV driver from cab (when stopped at the proper line)

    make bike lights go green 5 sec before motorised lights

    There’s been a load of work on this at TRL (I was on some of the trials) Like low level lights for bikes changing before the main ones

    Funnily enough, It was only halfway through the session when someone else mentioned they changed first that I found out, as I was always stopped in a position where I couldn’t see them change, and focusing on the ‘normal’ high level light on the other side of the junction.

    I suppose a 7.5m box would have the added effect of being really obvious. How many cars just ignore them and park up at the front? If you were 7.5m ahead of the car line you’d feel a bit more of a prick than just squeezing the current 6ft ahead to get a jump ahead on the car in the other lane.

    I like the advanced signals for bikes idea.

    Premier Icon stumpyjon
    Subscriber

    In the UK the cyclist lights would just become the new sign to go a bit like amber and red have become the new signals to floor it.

    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/article4078649.ece

    This bit’s intriguing.

    Dangerous cycle lanes that force cyclists to ride in the gutter at traffic lights – taking them through the blind-spots of lorries and other vehicles – are to be scrapped. A technicality currently means that cyclists can only enter cycle boxes via these lanes, but this is to be changed under new measures to come into force next year.

    I wonder what the changes might be.

    Premier Icon GavinB
    Subscriber

    Some of the problems I notice around the NW are ASL that are too small, and just an afterthought. They are meant to be 4m in length, but too often get reduced. The lead-in lanes are dumb, but highways engineers ‘have’ to put them in, due to the current technicality, prescribed by DfT.

    One potential issue of extending the ASL box to 7.5m is that detection loops may have to be reset, although the greater challenge would be explaining to most drivers what the purpose of an ASL is in the first place. They are mostly ignored around where I currently live.

    brooess
    Member

    ASLs are only useful if people driving know what they are and are penalised when they block them… In my bitter experience paint on the road is making no difference whatsoever… so changing the way the road is painted needs to be accompanied with communications to road users and proper law enforcement

    EDIT: maybe outlawing tailgating and screaming at people riding primary through pinch points would be a good idea if we really want cycling to increase…

    butcher
    Member

    I think ‘changing the way the road is painted’ goes some way to communicating a purpose. You change a 4 metre box into a 7.5 metre one, and it instantly doubles in importance. It would be a positive step at least.

    edlong
    Member

    Does anyone know if any driver has ever been prosecuted for violating the ASL line? I think one of the papers (bound to have been the grauniad, or just possibly the Times) tried to find out a couple of years ago using the FOIA and came back with a big fat zero…

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    Sadly I dont think a large number of vehicle drivers know what the ASL is all about OR choose to ignore it. I suspect the later considering many chose to ignore many rules of the road.

    In London a 7.5 mtr zone ASL would be useful at junctions on popular cycling arteries into/out of the city. The trick is usually to get the cyclists past the blindspot and out in front of the leading car. No more sitting in the gutter curb dead man zone.

    This is an interesting variation.
    Stop all the cars and let all the bikes go at once.
    http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2014/05/the-best-traffic-light-solution-for.html?m=1

    crankboy
    Member

    In Leeds the ASL is specifically designated as a creep zone so private hire drivers never have to come to a complete stop.

    A bit of a clue here;
    http://road.cc/content/news/117789-dft-launches-road-sign-consultation-strong-focus-cycling-infrastructure

    The removal of the requirement for a lead-in lane or gate at ASLs. This will permit cyclists to cross the first stop line at any point, allowing them to position themselves where they feel it is most appropriate

    So it’s not much of a change at all then.
    All it means is that if you get to the lights and there is a car already there, you can go past it on either the left or right to get to the ASL.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    I’m not sure local authorities are entirely clear on how to apply ASLs as it stands, We’ve got a couple local to me that are entirely unnecessary (IMO), some are even dangerous, I often tend to just queue with the traffic as attempting to filter my way to the ASL is probably riskier and I know that I’ll still get through on the next change of the lights… Half the time theres a 3 series sat in it anyway, the driver studiously ignoring the cyclists looking at them.

    councils will also be able to fit cyclist-only filters at traffic lights to give cyclists a “head start” on other traffic.

    Not sure if that’ll be a good idea or not, on the one hand having time to get clear across certain junctions (especially those with merging lanes) would help quite a bit, but then cyclists getting a “head start” will also serve to disproportionately annoy a particular minority of motorists, and you know full well that the cycle lights changing will simply act as a 5 seconds notice, signal for the traffic light racers to start revving and take up the slack on the clutch… Appropriate implementation would be the key thing, not something many councils have form for TBH.

    Safety campaigners have welcomed the moves, but criticised the Government for failing to create a significant annual budget for cycling, which would allow local councils to build networks of safe cycle routes.

    Probably the most significant point really, they’ve updated their guidance, but will their be actual investment in its implementation?
    Whoa there Cowboy, we’re not crazy, we don’t spend actual money on cycling infrastructure…

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    edlong – Member

    Does anyone know if any driver has ever been prosecuted for violating the ASL line? I think one of the papers (bound to have been the grauniad, or just possibly the Times) tried to find out a couple of years ago using the FOIA and came back with a big fat zero…

    Mmm, is it a separate offence? Maybe it just gets buried under failing to stop at a red light.

    Not sure if coincidental, but this popped up on Twitter yesterday from RantyHighwayman:

    The following tweet did state: “be absolutely clear, though. Time must be taken away from motorised traffic to make this work in a 90s to 120s cycle time”

    That’s a good infographic of the idea in that link I posted above.

    One thing about all these ideas that is particularly relevant to me is that all these featured junctions are in bigger towns with a mix of cars and bikes, so there is some pressure to make provision for the bikes.

    On the rare occasions when I ride on the road here in Kidderminster, I am usually the only bike at every junction.
    It could be some time before these features trickle down. In the mean time we are stuck in a Catch 22 situation of there being no cyclists because the junctions are crap and no need to improve the junctions because there are no cyclists.

    antigee
    Member

    not so sure on separate lights for cyclists – my only experience at a couple of junctions fitted with them is that are fine if you arrive and stop and then get the early green
    – but if you arrive later in the cycle with cycle and others green then the drivers of them there great big motorised vehicles seem to insist it is “their” turn and left hooks/tailgating and squeezing are OK as the cyclists had their turn so should be out of the way

    maybe outlawing tailgating and screaming at people riding primary through pinch points would be a good idea if we really want cycling to increase…

    need some of these google “sharrows”

    – Yarra City council in Melbourne, Aus is using them a lot – sadly I live in a different area and just sort of like in the UK the state highway authority does not recognise them so other councils won’t use them just in case they have to take them back out or get a court case they can’t handle

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    All it means is that if you get to the lights and there is a car already there, you can go past it on either the left or right to get to the ASL.

    Exactly like I already do then. On the rare occasions I get to the front and the ASL is clear. Normally there’s a BMW* in it.

    *other makes of car are available

    All of this “ooh look we’re changing the laws” stuff is once again a massive diversion from the main problem – the existing infrastructure is rubbish (usually the main reason why it’s not obeyed by cyclists) and the attitude of drivers towards cyclists is uncaring and hostile.

    When I’m on the roads, the law comes a distant second to my safety. While the infrastructure and attitudes continue as they are, that will remain.

    For what it’s worth, I was riding in Belgium recently and everyone obeys the traffic lights. Because they’re SO good and they’re set up to deal with cyclists. You can get a full 2-abreast club run down most of the cycle lanes, again because they’re so good. Riding 2-abreast is no problem – car drivers know how to deal with it and cyclists know how to behave.

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    Most of the proposed TSRGD changes sound pretty good.

    The ASL Feeder Lane one is a particularly daft law that it’ll be good to get rid of.

    All of this “ooh look we’re changing the laws” stuff is once again a massive diversion from the main problem – the existing infrastructure is rubbish

    Agreed, but some of these law changes are required to give councils the power to put in good infrastructure.

    e.g. cycle routes through junctions, cycle-only lights, 20mph zones, wide cycle lanes.

    Does anyone know if any driver has ever been prosecuted for violating the ASL line?

    There was a two-week “crackdown” in Edinburgh in November and drivers pulled up by police for entering ASLs.

    The Police spokesman said at the time:

    “Similarly, we will be stopping drivers that don’t give cyclists enough leeway.

    We also have issues with drivers in cycling boxes at traffic lights. Technically that is an offence on the same lines as going through a red light.

    There are a lot of things that people that use the roads don’t know. The idea is to point it out and explain it is an offence and give them a warning or, in particular cases, give them a ticket.

    The ultimate aim of the initiative is to reduce road casualties in the city centre at a time of year where casualty numbers rise, particularly among cyclists.”

    Sounds good. But an FoI request later revealed they didn’t actually issue any tickets:
    http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/crime/police-fail-to-catch-drivers-blocking-cycle-boxes-1-3349023

    🙁

    The ASL Feeder Lane one is a particularly daft law that it’ll be good to get rid of.

    As others have said – ASL’s basically just don’t work and tinkering with the laws around them is ultimately trying to polish a turd. Making them longer only makes a difference if they’re observed by drivers and, in heavy traffic vehicles aren’t going to treat them like a yellow box junction and wait until their exit is clear. they’ll just end up filled with cars.

    Without a feeder lane how are you meant to access the box in the first place? You can cross into the other lane but what about traffic coming towards you? I’ve frequently had cars accelerate towards me when I’d got nowhere to go (no space in the lane I’m overtaking to pull back in). And if you find the box full (whether of cyclists or vehicles? Now you’re on the wrong side of the road. Hardly infrastructure for the timid.

    Ultimately you need to take the conflict out and separate cycle and vehicle movements. Continuous segregated tracks, time separated movements through the junction, frequent green phases for cyclists to minimise waiting times

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    Without a feeder lane how are you meant to access the box in the first place?

    Until this law is changed there is no legal way to cycle into this box while the lights are red. Which seems a bit odd.

    But a more common problem is that they don’t have room for a feeder lane, even though the box is useless without one, so they do stuff like this:

    Which is pointless and means cyclists are legally obliged to join the box at dashed line bit, even if they actually want to turn right. 😕

    So yeah, a crap rule that places law-abiding cyclists in more danger than those that sensibly choose to ignore it. So a good one to get rid of.

    Ultimately you need to take the conflict out and separate cycle and vehicle movements. Continuous segregated tracks, time separated movements through the junction, frequent green phases for cyclists to minimise waiting times

    Yep that all sounds good too. 😀

    mattsccm
    Member

    A new junction in Hereford has the approach to the box between two lanes, one for left turns and the other for rights. Box goes right across both lanes and the whole shebang is painted green. The main snag is that if the traffic is queuing before the green lane starts you have to move from a generally left position across the traffic.

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer
    Subscriber

    will admit that those 4 pics just above, to me, are a major wtf!
    box ticking, spending the £3.99 budget that needs to be used up by the end of the year else they’ll lose it next yr?
    can understand why there are trolling lawyers working for pepipoo forum users, finding all sorts of technicalities, since I’m not sure any of those decorations were (or are) in the highway code that I used when I passed my test.

    at some point there needs to be a bit of commonsense, and not working around technicalities.

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    I’m not sure any of those decorations were (or are) in the highway code that I used when I passed my test.

    They are definitely in there now:


    https://www.gov.uk/using-the-road-159-to-203/road-junctions-170-to-183

    The fact that some motorists apparently don’t know about them just highlights the need for periodic re-tests.

    So the change to law on entering an ASL is a bit of tidying up rather than any increase in safety. I’ve never heard of anyone even suggesting that’s a rule that should be enforced – and as shown in your second picture, could be dealt with with a few dots on each lane anyway.

    The ASLs in 2, 3, and 4 highlight just how pointless they are as infrastructure.

    The junction in the first picture is a typical bit of British infrastructure. Someone has actually implemented a segregated cycle lane that’s wider than typical, but then given up completely when they get to the junction. On arriving at the ASL you need to make two 90 degree turns to prepare to set off, and you join ahead of the back of the box. If you arrive at the junction after the traffic has set off you can’t safely join the carriageway (especially not to turn right). If you arrive at the junction when the lights are red and the ASL is full (even with cyclists – and since they’re joining from one side it might only take one or two) you’re probably stuck on the cycle lane until the lights change to red again.
    And what exactly are you giving way to at the end of the cycle lane -not the road or it would be at 90 degrees.

    So in conclusion 4 examples of why ASLs are not useful which won’t actually be made any better at all by the legal ability to enter them at any point.

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer
    Subscriber

    was referring more to the odd dashed lines, than the boxes themselves.

    agree about some kind of occasional education. for all road users.

    The fact that some motorists apparently don’t know about them just highlights the need for periodic re-tests.

    But it’s the typical mealy mouthed compromise from the highway code. Do not ‘unnecessarily’ encroach, giving a crafty lawyer an open door to challenge any enforcement. Why does that ‘unnecessarily’ need to be there. Lets rewrite that rule to be more effective –

    “You MUST not enter the cyclists waiting area when the lights are red and, when the lights are green, you should avoid entering it until you are sure your exit is clear”. I’m sure someone can improve that.

    Premier Icon guitarhero
    Subscriber

    not even sure the police round here know what the ASL’s are for

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    “You MUST not enter the cyclists waiting area when the lights are red and, when the lights are green, you should avoid entering it until you are sure your exit is clear”. I’m sure someone can improve that.

    It is already a RTA/TSRGD law, covered in rule 175:

    “You MUST stop behind the white ‘Stop’ line across your side of the road unless the light is green. If the amber light appears you may go on only if you have already crossed the stop line or are so close to it that to stop might cause a collision.”

    And, if I recall correctly, is stated more definitely in the wording of the actual regulation.

    was referring more to the odd dashed lines, than the boxes themselves.

    They gave always been a feature, otherwise you are violating the rule above when you cycle into the box. That’s what the law change is sorting out.

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    not even sure the police round here know what the ASL’s are for

    It is possible that they entered that legally (e.g. They crossed the first stop line while lights were green) but lights turned amber before they could cross the second.

    That’s why enforcing ASLs with cameras is tricky.

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