Police in Edinburgh have warned more than 100 motorists for encroaching on Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs) designed to protect cyclists at traffic lights. During an operation that spanned four days early last month, Lothian & Borders Police also issued warnings to 26 cyclists for jumping red lights, and six for riding on the pavement, reports The Scotsman.
The operation took place on the city’s North Bridge, which links the Scottish capital’s Old and New Towns during the operation, which formed part of the Drive Safe, Cycle Safe campaign, which is a joint initiative of Lothian & Borders Police, Edinburgh City Council, Lothian & Borders Fire Brigade and NHS Lothian.
The newspaper reports that from the end of this month, cyclists and motorists committing similar transgressions will be given £30 fixed penalty notices rather than escaping with a warning.
A spokesman for Lothian & Borders Police told the newspaper: “Drivers who stopped within cycle boxes were told that this was illegal and given advice to avoid committing the offence again to ensure the safety of cyclists.
“Over 20 cyclists were also given appropriate guidance after officers observed them cycling through red lights.”
The operation is aimed at targeting drivers’ behaviour at junctions, with police saying that from 2004 to 2009, three in four injuries to cyclists in Edinburgh happened either at a junction or within 20 metres of one, according to the newspaper.
Police said that during last month’s operation, 53 private car drivers were warned for stopping in ASLs, plus drivers of 34 black cabs, 15 public service vehicles including coaches, and four buses. Some 85 per cent of motorists stopped were male.
Les McVay, chair of the Edinburgh Licences Taxi Partnership, told the newspaper that it was working to make sure its members understood rules regarding ASLs.
“Everybody wants to work together to improve safety for cyclists and we have been working with our members to ensure taxis and cyclists continue to co-exist effectively in Edinburgh.
“We have put the details regarding not stopping in the red box out to all of our drivers and will continue to work with the cab office to try to get this message across. We would point out that all road users, including car and taxi drivers and cyclists, should be obeying traffic laws.”
Dave Du Feu, who chairs Spokes, the Lothian cycle campaign, commented: “I applaud the police for their efforts to increase safety on city roads. This is an even-handed campaign and neither motorists nor cyclists can feel targeted as a result. The Highway Code is there for all to adhere to and I would ask all cyclists to obey it.
“Some feel ASLs are for cyclists only but they offer increased safety for all. They allow cyclists a head start but also improve visibility at junctions for pedestrians and allow motorists a better view also.”
A police spokesman added: “Lothian and Borders Police is committed to making our roads safer for all members of our communities.
“The ‘Drive Safe, Cycle Safe’ campaign is a partnership initiative that aims to reduce the number of Edinburgh road traffic accidents involving cyclists. The campaign focuses on the importance of motorists observing traffic signals and cycle boxes, and of cyclists stopping at traffic lights.”
Meanwhile, the newpaper also reported that 5,000 fines had been issued to motorists caught driving in bus lanes on major routes into the city centre, known as Greenways, in the first week in which cameras were deployed there.
The drivers face a fine of £60 each, reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days, and according to the newspaper two motorists were each caught committing the offence on five separate occasions.
Finally, STV reports that the new Labour and SNP coalition which has assumed control of the city following last week’s elections has made a number of pledges including retaining the tram system currently being built, and holding a consultation on introducing 20mph zones in more areas of Edinbugrh.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.