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Demanding that turning vehicles give way would allow for two-phase traffic light sequences

British Cycling’s Turning the Corner campaign is calling for a universal rule to give way when turning to reduce the risk of cyclists and pedestrians falling victim to left hooks. The organisation has recently commissioned research which revealed that such a move could also reduce motor traffic queue lengths by 43 per cent.

The UK is one of just three countries in the world which does not have a priority rule at traffic light junctions. As part of its campaign, British Cycling asked transport planners Phil Jones Associates to model the impact of the change at the Lea Bridge Road/Orient Way junction in Waltham Forest, Greater London.

Their research found that the change would reduce the amount of time all road users spent navigating a typical set of traffic lights. Queue reductions were largely attributed to a move from a three-stage traffic light sequence – where one phase is for pedestrians and cyclists – to a two stage sequence, where pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicles can all go at the same time.

British Cycling’s policy adviser, Chris Boardman, said: “Simple changes to the Highway Code and regulations would not only make junctions safer spaces for all road users, it would also make them much more efficient, saving lots of time. The time saved at this single junction amounts to around six hours every year for regular car commuters – that’s a whole season of Line of Duty – and would reduce exhaust emissions by 17 per cent.

“Beginning the process of changing these rules to bring us in the line with the rest of the world would not be an onerous task – it is simply a case of updating the Highway Code and is something that the Transport Secretary could action tomorrow.”

Policy advocate Dame Sarah Storey added: “If you are new to driving or cycling in the UK, our junctions can be really confusing and dangerous spaces to navigate. We’re about 50 years behind most other countries in the world in solving this and it staggers me that our government is still dragging its feet. Bringing in this rule change is a no-brainer and I hope this research goes some way to educating decision makers on the way forward.”

Director of Highways and Traffic Management at Waltham Forest Council, Vala Valavan said: “We want to make it easier for everyone to travel no matter if you are driving, walking, cycling or taking the bus but the current rules at junctions make it difficult to maintain vehicle capacity. The results of this model show that it is possible to improve the efficiency of junctions and at the same time provide traffic protected routes for people walking and cycling.

“We hope that further research can be undertaken to show how it could work and meet the needs of all road users.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

38 comments

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ashliejay [74 posts] 7 months ago
3 likes

All i can say is leave it as it is, it'll save everyone massive headaches, arguments, and fights, as it's not like everyone even pays attention to the current highway code, so any changes like this will just make things worse.

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BehindTheBikesheds [1328 posts] 7 months ago
8 likes

removals from highway code should be.

Suggestions of 'should' for wearing helmets/hi vis and filtering to single file on narrow bends/busy roads

inclusions;

explaining secondary/priority and the right of people on bikes to use as much of the carriageway as they see fit to use, it's not up to you (as the motorist) to judge otherwise and less so to give a 'punishment pass'

'You MUST' drive at a speed that you can stop well within the distance you can see to be clear.

you MUST give priority to the vehicle in front including bicycles, emphasis on it being your responsibility as the road user behind not to cause the road user with priority to swerve/brake or crash.

You MUST not cross into a lane that is not clear to do so or would cause another road user to brake, swerve or crash, emphasis on application for left hooking across cycle lanes of any kind, mandatory or not. they are lanes and left hooks/moving into them should be classed the same as any other lane.

You MUST give a safe space when overtaking, emphasis on responsibility of motorists to wait for a safe space and to use the whole of the other side of the carriageway, especially when speed limits are above 30mph.

Think that would do for starters.

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Trekpro [144 posts] 7 months ago
5 likes

You MUST appreciate that doing anyting like this when there is buggerall enforcement is uttely futile.

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Leviathan [2937 posts] 7 months ago
3 likes

I loved Frogger...

This is madness. It is bad enough turning a corner on green and having random pedestrians stepping out in front of you at the moment. I don't want people to just have licence to launch themselves out at you and I don't even drive. I don't understand how motorists can have the stopping distance unless you impose 10mph speed limit for turning. The status quo is fine.

And there should be no 'Should' about anything I choose to wear. Riders "must" have lights in the dark, that will be sufficent. In my experience it is Hi-Viz daudlers who are so slow that they think it will be fine to just run red lights, because everyone can see them, so they must be safe. You sir are a muppet, and not the entertaining kind.

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brooksby [2919 posts] 7 months ago
3 likes

So, am I right in thinking that this proposed change would mean that safely negotiating a junction would come down to the motorist accepting and understanding that they have to give way rather than the light sequence forcing them to do so? Yeah, like, that'll work just fine...

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ChrisB200SX [623 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes
brooksby wrote:

So, am I right in thinking that this proposed change would mean that safely negotiating a junction would come down to the motorist accepting and understanding that they have to give way rather than the light sequence forcing them to do so? Yeah, like, that'll work just fine...

Yep, this.

I barely get 100m from the office before I've got impatient asshats playing chicken with me on my side of the road when their side is blocked by parked cars. Does anyone really believe that drivers will actually give way like this proposed idea?!

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atlaz [260 posts] 7 months ago
7 likes
Quote:

This is madness. It is bad enough turning a corner on green and having random pedestrians stepping out in front of you at the moment. I don't want people to just have licence to launch themselves out at you and I don't even drive. I don't understand how motorists can have the stopping distance unless you impose 10mph speed limit for turning. The status quo is fine.

Yet it's funny how nearly every country manages it without massive numbers of cyclist and pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Where I live a lot of junctions have pedestrian and cyclist priority after turning and it works fine. Less waiting for everyone. 

It's telling that on a British cycling website there are still a significant number of people who can't imagine that it works properly despite evidence to the contrary  

 

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Plasterer's Radio [362 posts] 7 months ago
1 like

Line Of Duty is an excellent drama.

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hawkinspeter [1277 posts] 7 months ago
5 likes

I would welcome this. Situations that require judgement and have an element of uncertainty tend to make drivers pay more attention and slow down. The big problems occur when drivers get bored and complacent.

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step-hent [727 posts] 7 months ago
3 likes
atlaz wrote:
Quote:

This is madness. It is bad enough turning a corner on green and having random pedestrians stepping out in front of you at the moment. I don't want people to just have licence to launch themselves out at you and I don't even drive. I don't understand how motorists can have the stopping distance unless you impose 10mph speed limit for turning. The status quo is fine.

Yet it's funny how nearly every country manages it without massive numbers of cyclist and pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Where I live a lot of junctions have pedestrian and cyclist priority after turning and it works fine. Less waiting for everyone. 

It's telling that on a British cycling website there are still a significant number of people who can't imagine that it works properly despite evidence to the contrary 

I think the real point is how much effort and commitment it would take to implement. It's not as simple as changing the highway code - if we only do that, new drivers will learn about it and the rest will likely have no idea (despite the requirement that everyone knows the up to date highway code, few actually do). There would need to be a massive education program and enforcement action too, which means money being allocated for both. If the education program focuses on the fact that it will actually save time for drivers, it would get through. With those things, it would be a brilliant change to implement; without, it's a recipe for disaster.

 

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Peowpeowpeowlasers [572 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

A welcome change but it would be better if councils moved give way markings back behind the pavement, and if continuous pavements and cycle lanes were used. Not expensive changes.

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atlaz [260 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes
Quote:

A welcome change but it would be better if councils moved give way markings back behind the pavement, and if continuous pavements and cycle lanes were used. Not expensive changes.

 

But, as we know, another one for education. Drivers already routinely view the advanced stop box for cyclists as part of "their" road and stop in them. I had a conversation with a driver who told me that I wasn't there when he stopped (I was literally alongside him in the cycle lane) so he was entitled to use it (obviously not true, that would be a normal road).

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kitsunegari [345 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
Leviathan wrote:

I loved Frogger...

This is madness. It is bad enough turning a corner on green and having random pedestrians stepping out in front of you at the moment. I don't want people to just have licence to launch themselves out at you and I don't even drive. I don't understand how motorists can have the stopping distance unless you impose 10mph speed limit for turning. The status quo is fine.

Funny how it works just fine in most of the rest of Europe then isn't it?

Given just how bad British drivers are though I doubt this would work without the police to back up enforcing it. It's an attitude change as much as anything else, and the attitude of the average car first, me-centric British driver just won't care.

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Morgoth985 [101 posts] 7 months ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:

So, am I right in thinking that this proposed change would mean that safely negotiating a junction would come down to the motorist accepting and understanding that they have to give way rather than the light sequence forcing them to do so? Yeah, like, that'll work just fine...

It will work.  It involves motorists being in the habit of giving way to everyone when turning, pedestrians included.  Once it's normalised that you give way when turning to anyone going straight ahead, you take the whole anti-cyclist don't pay road tax thing out of the equation.  You just give way when turning. They do this in Australia and believe me motorists there aren't exactly cyclist loving angels, but this aspect works.

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Trekpro [144 posts] 7 months ago
1 like
Morgoth985 wrote:

It will work.  It involves motorists being in the habit of giving way to everyone when turning, pedestrians included.  Once it's normalised that you give way when turning to anyone going straight ahead, you take the whole anti-cyclist don't pay road tax thing out of the equation.  You just give way when turning. They do this in Australia and believe me motorists there aren't exactly cyclist loving angels, but this aspect works.

 

Yeah - of course it will.  Just like not speeding, not driving under the influence, and generally not driving like a mechant banker as so utterly the norm.

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Trekpro [144 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

[/quote]Funny how it works just fine in most of the rest of Europe then isn't it?

Given just how bad British drivers are though I doubt this would work without the police to back up enforcing it. It's an attitude change as much as anything else, and the attitude of the average car first, me-centric British driver just won't care.

[/quote]

I reckon I've ridden in about 1/3 of the countries in Europe - nowhere comes close to the UK for cycle unfriendliness and agressive inconsiderate attitudes to riders.

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ggeoff [6 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

removals from highway code should be.

Suggestions of 'should' for wearing helmets/hi vis and filtering to single file on narrow bends/busy roads

inclusions;

explaining secondary/priority and the right of people on bikes to use as much of the carriageway as they see fit to use, it's not up to you (as the motorist) to judge otherwise and less so to give a 'punishment pass'

'You MUST' drive at a speed that you can stop well within the distance you can see to be clear.

you MUST give priority to the vehicle in front including bicycles, emphasis on it being your responsibility as the road user behind not to cause the road user with priority to swerve/brake or crash.

You MUST not cross into a lane that is not clear to do so or would cause another road user to brake, swerve or crash, emphasis on application for left hooking across cycle lanes of any kind, mandatory or not. they are lanes and left hooks/moving into them should be classed the same as any other lane.

You MUST give a safe space when overtaking, emphasis on responsibility of motorists to wait for a safe space and to use the whole of the other side of the carriageway, especially when speed limits are above 30mph.

Think that would do for starters.

Sounds good to me.  I thought that these obsevations were obligatory anyway.  To me the problem  is that as a bicycle is a slow moving vehicle it cannot really use the correct lane at a junction that a car would take. The junction of the A3102 with the M4 is controlled by lights in such a way that all vehicles must travel slowly in which case a bicycle could be in the appropriate lane without causing problems for motorized vehicles.  In most road junctions cyclists are forced into being in the left hand lane, even though they may intend to turn right. 

 

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ktache [696 posts] 7 months ago
3 likes

Doesn't the highway code already give priority to crossing pedestrians on a minor road coming off a major one, does that work well?  Try it, hey the pedestrians don't even get priority on the pavement that goes across the entrance to the garage forecourt outside my home.  They might have it in law, but in physical reality...

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FluffyKittenofT... [1976 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes
ktache wrote:

Doesn't the highway code already give priority to crossing pedestrians on a minor road coming off a major one, does that work well?  Try it, hey the pedestrians don't even get priority on the pavement that goes across the entrance to the garage forecourt outside my home.  They might have it in law, but in physical reality...

The priority to crossing pedestrians rule is only a should rather than a must, so only advisory. Whether it would be any better observed if it were a must, would, I guess, depend on if it was ever enforced. I heard somewhere that it used to be stronger in older editions of the highway code.

(I confess I occasionally play chicken with motorists in regard to that rule- as long as I can stare them in the eyes while doing it - and so far have only been shouted at)

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wycombewheeler [1257 posts] 7 months ago
1 like
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
ktache wrote:

Doesn't the highway code already give priority to crossing pedestrians on a minor road coming off a major one, does that work well?  Try it, hey the pedestrians don't even get priority on the pavement that goes across the entrance to the garage forecourt outside my home.  They might have it in law, but in physical reality...

The priority to crossing pedestrians rule is only a should rather than a must, so only advisory. Whether it would be any better observed if it were a must, would, I guess, depend on if it was ever enforced. I heard somewhere that it used to be stronger in older editions of the highway code.

(I confess I occasionally play chicken with motorists in regard to that rule- as long as I can stare them in the eyes while doing it - and so far have only been shouted at)

"You should; watch out go pedestrians crossing a road into which you are turning" so looking for them is advisory the text then continues "if they have started to cross, they have priority, so give way"

There is no should in that sentence it is quite explicit, pedestrians already crossing have priority. Nor could there be you either have priority or you don't there is no should have priority.

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BehindTheBikesheds [1328 posts] 7 months ago
1 like
Bigtwin wrote:

Funny how it works just fine in most of the rest of Europe then isn't it?

Given just how bad British drivers are though I doubt this would work without the police to back up enforcing it. It's an attitude change as much as anything else, and the attitude of the average car first, me-centric British driver just won't care.

[/quote]

I reckon I've ridden in about 1/3 of the countries in Europe - nowhere comes close to the UK for cycle unfriendliness and agressive inconsiderate attitudes to riders.

[/quote]

And yet despite that per billion miles cycle casualties are better than countries like France and Germany

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Trekpro [144 posts] 7 months ago
1 like

Except I didn't write that.   As for those meanless stats...we'll they're meaningless.  I've commuted, leisure rode, raced and toured all my life and not once has anyone asked me how many miles I've done or how many times I've been hit by a car.  Massive wild-aresed guestimate at best.

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madcarew [515 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

inclusions;

...

you MUST give priority to the vehicle in front including bicycles, emphasis on it being your responsibility as the road user behind not to cause the road user with priority to swerve/brake or crash.

...

Think that would do for starters.

How on earth can a person behind cause the person in front to swerve / brake or crash?????

I tell anyone I'm helping with learning to drive "Forget about the guy behind you. What he's doing is not your problem."

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madcarew [515 posts] 7 months ago
1 like

Call me stupid, but I don't understand the video or what its point is. Giving priority to pedestrians crossing the road is, unless I'm much mistaken, already in the road rules, regardless of whether they are on a ped crossing or not. To my understanding, a 'left hook' is when a driver  turns left across the path of a cyclist who is otherwise contiuing straight ahead, and I don't see any demonstration in the video that shows or fixes that. I applaud any change in road rules which makes things safer and eases flow of the traffic, but I think the video doesn't illustrate  this well.

As for those saying that this will make bugger all difference, recently we changed our road rules in NZ to cover the way traffic turning right across the stream of traffic give way to traffic turning left into the same road. It went without a hitch and has made a real difference to the traffic flow at congested intersections. 95% of drivers (like all your good selves) act within the law and drive correctly most of the time. If a rule adapts the behaviour of 95% of drivers surely that's agood thing? It might not have the corresponding effect on the accident rate as the 95% are only responsible for a much smaller fraction of the accidents, but to have the vast majority of drivers acting in a more predictable and safer manner is surely a good thing?

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ChrisB200SX [623 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
madcarew wrote:
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

inclusions;

...

you MUST give priority to the vehicle in front including bicycles, emphasis on it being your responsibility as the road user behind not to cause the road user with priority to swerve/brake or crash.

...

Think that would do for starters.

How on earth can a person behind cause the person in front to swerve / brake or crash?????

I tell anyone I'm helping with learning to drive "Forget about the guy behind you. What he's doing is not your problem."

By driving into the back of them, like happened to me at 6pm outside Reading Uni today. Waiting in a queue to turn right, traffic coming the other way, idiot behind rams into me, very nearly put me under the wheels of the car going past on the left!

Exactly one week since I got the bike back with everything upgraded, £400 rear wheel buckled after less than 100 miles, cosmic!

 

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madcarew [515 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
ChrisB200SX wrote:
madcarew wrote:
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

inclusions;

...

you MUST give priority to the vehicle in front including bicycles, emphasis on it being your responsibility as the road user behind not to cause the road user with priority to swerve/brake or crash.

...

Think that would do for starters.

How on earth can a person behind cause the person in front to swerve / brake or crash?????

I tell anyone I'm helping with learning to drive "Forget about the guy behind you. What he's doing is not your problem."

By driving into the back of them, like happened to me at 6pm outside Reading Uni today. Waiting in a queue to turn right, traffic coming the other way, idiot behind rams into me, very nearly put me under the wheels of the car going past on the left!

Exactly one week since I got the bike back with everything upgraded, £400 rear wheel buckled after less than 100 miles, cosmic!

 

But they didn't cause you to swerver, brake or crash. They simply crashed into you.

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Morgoth985 [101 posts] 7 months ago
1 like
Bigtwin wrote:
Morgoth985 wrote:

It will work.  It involves motorists being in the habit of giving way to everyone when turning, pedestrians included.  Once it's normalised that you give way when turning to anyone going straight ahead, you take the whole anti-cyclist don't pay road tax thing out of the equation.  You just give way when turning. They do this in Australia and believe me motorists there aren't exactly cyclist loving angels, but this aspect works.

 

Yeah - of course it will.  Just like not speeding, not driving under the influence, and generally not driving like a mechant banker as so utterly the norm.

 

As so utterly the norm.  So make it less of the norm.  Will this equal perfection?  Sadly I suspect not.  Is it a step in the right direction?  Of course it is.  Don't we want this?

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Trekpro [144 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
Morgoth985 wrote:

[

As so utterly the norm.  So make it less of the norm.  Will this equal perfection?  Sadly I suspect not.  Is it a step in the right direction?  Of course it is.  Don't we want this?

 

I WANT 15m on the lottery this weekend. And it's a lot more likely to happen.

Avatar
Morgoth985 [101 posts] 7 months ago
1 like
Bigtwin wrote:
Morgoth985 wrote:

[

As so utterly the norm.  So make it less of the norm.  Will this equal perfection?  Sadly I suspect not.  Is it a step in the right direction?  Of course it is.  Don't we want this?

 

I WANT 15m on the lottery this weekend. And it's a lot more likely to happen.

 

But if that's really true then we all should just give up and go back to bed, shouldn't we?  

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Trekpro [144 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
Morgoth985 wrote:

But if that's really true then we all should just give up and go back to bed, shouldn't we?  

 

Can if you like.  Or just get on with riding in the actual real world a day at a time, without pinning futile hope on some pie-in-the-sky behavioural change that is supposed to happen more or less by magic without any effective nforcement, save perhaps by private companies in major City centre junctions via CCTV for cash.  That's the actual reality of Britain today, and that's not going to change in a month of Sundays, and it's completly futile in my humble opinion, to suppose it' will, no matter how attractive the sentiment.

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