Government green light for Boris' turn left on red scheme

London trial backed as Minister says left-turn idea is a good one

by Tom Henry   January 22, 2010  

red light.jpg

Plans to trial a scheme that will let London cyclists turn left at red traffic lights has been backed by the Government.

The idea has come from Mayor Boris Johnson's office in response to growing concern about the number of cyclists killed or injured by lorries. The plan would allow cyclists to get ahead of vehicles at junctions.

Transport spokesman Lord Faulkner told the House of Lords that the Department of Transport supported a pilot scheme.

He said: “We are ready to undertake a pilot if there is demand for it. We think that there is a lot to be said for there being at least an experiment on this, but we do not want to give cyclists the feeling that they are allowed to ignore red lights and just turn left or right when they think it is appropriate for them to do so; that has to be properly regulated.”

Lord Faulkner pointed out that the current penalty for a cyclist running a red light is a £30 on-the-spot fine.

In response to a question from Viscount Falkland, Lord Faulkner agreed that cycle lanes full of parked cars during evenings and at weekends was a problem.

He said: “There are mandatory cycle lanes, which are indicated by a continuous white line. They may not be used by vehicles other than pedal cycles during their hours of operation. However, as with bus lanes, mandatory cycle lanes can operate full time or during certain times of the day only. If a mandatory cycle lane is to be introduced, it requires a traffic regulation order.

“If cycle lanes are to be enforced at weekends, it is the responsibility of the local authority to ensure that the traffic regulation order covers that eventuality. We take the view that, in those circumstances, it would probably be wise for local authorities to lay down yellow lines at the same time to indicate that parking in the cycle lane is not permitted.”

Lord Faulkner said the Government gave 'every encouragement' to Boris Johnson's proposals for cycle 'superhighways' in London. “We want an increase in the number of people cycling to work in London,” he said. “The London figure is very low compared with European cities. It is only 3 per cent in London, compared with, for example, 36 per cent in Copenhagen and 25 per cent in the Netherlands. These figures can go up a lot. We think there are health reasons and other very strong reasons why that should happen.”

* Authorised red light-jumping - good idea? Bad idea? Tell us!

10 user comments

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Been waiting for this for a long time, hopefully the trial will go well and it will be put into practice nationwide.

Twitter - @StuKerton

stuke's picture

posted by stuke [335 posts]
22nd January 2010 - 14:30


I don't know quite what I feel about this. I'm just hoping that drivers are made suitably, constantly aware of the trials too...

AdamML's picture

posted by AdamML [72 posts]
22nd January 2010 - 15:04

1 Like

Sounds like a great idea but anyone got any idea how it would work?

If the lights change in rotation with each queue taking it in turn I can see the way it can be done safely when the next clockwise queue only has a green light as there will be no traffic from the right, but are they proposing to allow turning left-on-red no matter which queue has a green light? Does that make sense? Thinking

Did Nightrider 2013 and 2014 for Parkinson's UK. Might just have one last go in 2015.

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [637 posts]
22nd January 2010 - 15:45


in America you can turn on the red light (to the right as they drive on the wrong side of the road Smile ) once you've come to a stop and then checked that the traffic to your left is clear, basically you are using it as a junction with a stop sign instead of a red light. would of thought thats how it would work over here

Twitter - @StuKerton

stuke's picture

posted by stuke [335 posts]
22nd January 2010 - 15:52


Well thats 25% of my site destroyed Smile

Hope it works and is rolled out nationwide. Whilst they are announcing it, the government can also mention ASLs again Smile

Also love the idea of painting double yellow lines down the cycle lanes - would work a treat in Manchester and I can travel moderately safely for 1 mile of my 13 in a cycle lane that has no cars in it.

jobysp's picture

posted by jobysp [145 posts]
22nd January 2010 - 16:19


Good ideas from Boris, who'd have thunk it?


posted by OldRidgeback [2407 posts]
22nd January 2010 - 16:34


A mandatory cycle lane is much more restrictive than a double yellow line. According to the highway code you must not enter a mandatory cycle lane, unless is it unavoidable (eg: you have to cross it to turn into the driveway of your house). Double yellow lines allow you to stop to unload.

I wish mandatory cycle lanes were policed.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1391 posts]
22nd January 2010 - 16:42


If I have to stop, check, then proceed... that's still a loss of momentum; momentum loss is the main reason why I absolutely oppose traffic signals on the grounds of anything other than safety, with pedestrian crossings and very large junctions counting under safety.

Kevin Steinhardt's picture

posted by Kevin Steinhardt [30 posts]
22nd January 2010 - 18:10


my example for America includes motor vehicles as well, on a bike you'd just have to ease up and treat it as any other give way junction. By looking well ahead and planning your route you probably wouldn't even need to brake!! Big Grin

Twitter - @StuKerton

stuke's picture

posted by stuke [335 posts]
22nd January 2010 - 21:13


It's idiocy.

Boris needs to stop cyclists riding up the inside of trucks at junctions. This proposal would just invite more of it, and as a result we'll get more cyclists squashed by left-turning lorries.

Not thought out at all.

posted by Mister Paul [1 posts]
23rd January 2010 - 22:04