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London's Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan says mandatory cycle lanes will be enforced too...

London’s Cycling Commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, plans to deploy CCTV cameras to catch motorists illegally entering Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs), with transgressors being fined £60 and having 3 penalty points put on their driving licence.

Gilligan, appointed to his current role by Mayor of London Boris Johnson in January this year, told the London Evening Standard that enforcing the law would lead to motorists learning to “respect” cyclists.

He informed the newspaper that Transport for London (TfL) is “pretty close” to having the offence decriminalised by means of a ‘commencement order.’

That would allow it to take over responsibility for the enforcement of ASLs – also known as ‘bike boxes’ from the Metropolitan Police.

Rule 178 of the Highway Code says:

Advanced stop lines. Some signal-controlled junctions have advanced stop lines to allow cycles to be positioned ahead of other traffic. Motorists, including motorcyclists, MUST stop at the first white line reached if the lights are amber or red and should avoid blocking the way or encroaching on the marked area at other times, e.g. if the junction ahead is blocked. If your vehicle has proceeded over the first white line at the time that the signal goes red, you MUST stop at the second white line, even if your vehicle is in the marked area. Allow cyclists time and space to move off when the green signal shows.


Gilligan, who also intends to enforce mandatory bike lanes, with drivers entering those facing a £30 fine, told the Standard: “The purpose of ASLs and mandatory lanes is to give cyclists protected space.”

“We know how many cars go into advance stop boxes — probably more than 50 per cent of the time. Maybe they don’t known they are meant to stay out of them.

“At present, you have to have a police officer standing at the junction or in a police car. What we can do is stick a camera up and do automatic enforcement. That will sort out the problem.”

The Standard points out that fines imposed on drivers for ignoring ASLs or mandatory cycle lanes could generate revenue for TfL, which the newspaper says currently issues 20,000 fines a year to motorists driving in bus lanes and 140,000 for other offences including stopping in box junctions.

“We think if we enforce mandatory cycle lanes and ASLs, there will be much more compliance,” explained Gilligan.

“Compliance with bus lanes has gone up dramatically.

“People avoid them even when they don’t have to. We want to do exactly the same [with ASLs and cycle lanes].”

The news was welcomed by Green Party London Assembly Member Jenny Jones, who told the Standard: “Rather than posting a police officer at every traffic light, it would seem sensible to treat ASLs in the same way as we treat yellow boxes or bus lanes, so that we can use cameras to enforce this safety measure.”

In 2010, James Randerson, writing in the Guardian Bike Blog, highlighted just how much uncertainty there was about whether or not it is illegal for motorists to encroach upon ASLs.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) was unable to give an answer, and Randerson eventually obtained clarification from the DfT, which confirmed that the offence carried with it a £60 fine and 3 penalty points.

That lack of awareness of the fact it is illegal as well as the relevant sanction may go some way towards explaining why there is apparently so little enforcement.

Anecdotally, however, it is said that some police officers who are aware of the correct penalty believe it to be too harsh, particularly the points element, and turn a blind eye - something that TfL's CCTV cameras wouldn't do.

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.

31 comments

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badkneestom [135 posts] 3 years ago
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Is that an average intersection or just an anamoly? That pic drives me nuts.

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Argos74 [407 posts] 3 years ago
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I think this is the pic they might have been looking for.

//i.imgur.com/VDoyjfk.jpg)

Credit and kudos to http://manchestersadvanceddrivers.blogspot.co.uk/

Oh. And this cannot come too soon.

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theove [3 posts] 3 years ago
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What about motorbikes and scooters? They're often worse at taking up space than cars.

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crazy-legs [794 posts] 3 years ago
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theove wrote:

What about motorbikes and scooters? They're often worse at taking up space than cars.

Are they allowed in ASLs or not? I genuinely don't know.
I don't mind motorcyclists, at least they generally have an idea of how vulnerable cyclists are.

Curious about the quote of "people avoid bus lanes even when they don't have to".
When I'm driving, that really annoys me; 1 lane of traffic sitting there and an empty bus lane that is actually open to cars (ie outside of restricted times).
But if you use it, everyone else in the queue is giving you the evil eye.  3
And of course, as a cyclist, I don't want cars to use it at anytime!

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Zermattjohn [214 posts] 3 years ago
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"Motorists, including motorcyclists, MUST stop at the 1st white line....". Horses and bikes can go past the 1st white line into the ASL, but if you're propelled by motorised means you can't. Rumour has it that Cancellara stops at the 1st line  3

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zanf [859 posts] 3 years ago
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theove wrote:

What about motorbikes and scooters? They're often worse at taking up space than cars.

This.

The worst area on my journey is going north over Lambeth Bridge and Ive had a couple of mopeds actually go on to the cycle lane.

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step-hent [723 posts] 3 years ago
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Zermattjohn wrote:

"Motorists, including motorcyclists, MUST stop at the 1st white line....". Horses and bikes can go past the 1st white line into the ASL, but if you're propelled by motorised means you can't. Rumour has it that Cancellara stops at the 1st line  3

That's just because he's giving Boonen and Sagan a head start  3

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farrell [1950 posts] 3 years ago
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Are you sure its docking points? I've always thought that inferred points being taken away, rather than points being added?

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David French [50 posts] 3 years ago
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You're driving along and approaching traffic lights which turn to amber. Do you:

a) Brake and stop within the ASL to get points and a fine.
Or
b) Run a red light to get points and a fine.

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Carvers [36 posts] 3 years ago
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David French wrote:

You're driving along and approaching traffic lights which turn to amber. Do you:

a) Brake and stop within the ASL to get points and a fine.
Or
b) Run a red light to get points and a fine.

Given almost all ASLs are in built up areas (therefore 20 is alwasy plenty), I think 'you' should be fine to stop in time. Either way 'you' are covered by the Highway Code (178) if it actually came to such a scenario...

[If your vehicle has proceeded over the first white line at the time that the signal goes red, you MUST stop at the second white line, even if your vehicle is in the marked area.]

It's those that encroach into the space when the light is already red that this is trying to deter.

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buddy1884 [6 posts] 3 years ago
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Think giving drivers points is a step too far. Yeah they need to learn to respect cyclists more, but this will just make them annoyed and hate cyclists even if its not the cyclists themselves issuing fines.

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londonplayer [620 posts] 3 years ago
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Agree with earlier comment at how annoying it is when motorcyclists use the asl. Having said that, I think introducing a fine is unnecessary and antagonistic towards car drivers. I wonder if Andrew Gilligan drives? It's incredibly easy to pass into the asl box when you drive.

Paint ALL of the boxes blue. The green one's are often encroached by motorists but the blue one's seem to have a deterrent effect - quite possibly because they are much more visible to drivers than the green one's.

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Some Fella [890 posts] 3 years ago
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I have anecdotal evidence of cyclists getting a bollocking from the dibble for going over the white line - but only having to do so because a car was in the ASL - which the dibble conveniently ignore.

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mrmo [2088 posts] 3 years ago
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to be honest the best step forward would be to ban the hardship clause. 12 points and you loose your licence no arguments, no exceptions.

Then we can start looking at punishing law breaking drivers more throughly, crossing solid white lines, illegal parking etc. ASLs. yes they should be enforced but to me they aren't top of the list.

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KiwiMike [1225 posts] 3 years ago
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£60 is NOTHING. With just 3 points on your licence, your insurance premium will go up by HUNDREDS. For years. No one considers that points cost a fortune in the long run.

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bambergbike [89 posts] 3 years ago
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Great news. 60 quid and three points does seem a little harsh, possibly harsh enough to spark some anti-cyclist resentment, so it's good to see the changes being flagged up clearly in advance.

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Carvers [36 posts] 3 years ago
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Would there have been any more resentment shown to bus drivers when they started fining for driving in the bus lanes? Pretty sure if there was it was short-lived and drivers just accept that if they cross the line they pay the fine.

Personally I think it's just good to see a pro-cyclist push like this full-stop.

Now if only there was a way to discourage / catch / fine RLJers (bicycles and motor vehicles) as easily we'd really be getting somewhere

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Matt_S [270 posts] 3 years ago
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Carvers wrote:

Now if only there was a way to discourage / catch / fine RLJers

This. ^

I'm sure this creates more bad feeling towards cyclists than anything else.

And I'll believe they're going to start clamping down on ASLs when I see it. Maybe 10 cameras in central London isn't gonna cut it.

Some tw@t in a transit actually went around me in an ASL this morning to stop half in / half through the box.

You don't end up in a job as a van driver for no reason...

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thereverent [420 posts] 3 years ago
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This is only enforcing the law about red lights. The ASL is beyond the stop line, hence if you drive over it on red you have jumped the lights.
It's not hard to avoid stopping in one. Just treat it like a box junction (that you can get through it, or wait if you can't). It's not hard.
I think most drivers know, but don't care. Most motorcyclists know, but want to get to the front so ignore them.

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thereverent [420 posts] 3 years ago
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badkneestom wrote:

Is that an average intersection or just an anamoly? That pic drives me nuts.

Could be an intersection on my commute in London. Some of them have far more cyclists at rush hour.

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vbvb [610 posts] 3 years ago
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Matt_S wrote:

I'm sure blah blah blah...

You don't end up in a job as a van driver for no reason...

Nice judgemental sentiment there. We weren't living in a meritocracy last I checked.

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bikepixi [12 posts] 3 years ago
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Matt_S wrote:

I'm sure this creates more bad feeling towards cyclists than anything else.

You don't end up in a job as a van driver for no reason...

And you don't think saying things like this create bad feelings against cyclists either?

BTW, what reason is that? You are judging them in the same way that they guy in the van assumed you where a RLJ, don't pay road tax, doesn't own a car, doesn't have a license so he has every right to show you who is boss of the road.

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bikepixi [12 posts] 3 years ago
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That pic would have been taken between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday within roughly within the bounds of zone 1, central London. I recognise the cargo bike & courier riding it. It's pretty representative of most of the day in central London. I'd take a stab at it being the tail end of the morning rush 10am.

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fatbeggaronabike [823 posts] 3 years ago
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Pity it's just London and not nationwide.

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TiNuts [97 posts] 3 years ago
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Interesting that this load of hot air is coming from tfl, whose employees are some of the worst offenders. I am, of course, referring to bus drivers who, if they're not encroaching on the ASL completely , think that it's ok if their wheels are stopped before the ASL even if 2m or so of bus is still poking its way into the area supposedly reserved for cyclists.

Having complained to tfl on numerous occasions about this and got precisely nowhere, I'll be pleasantly surprised if this suggestion actually comes to fruition.

I mean, let's look at the practicalities of it: the technology has been present for years to film and prosecute motorists who red light jump at junctions but has barely been implemented. And we're expected to believe that now cameras will be placed to catch ASL encroachers?

Tosh!

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CanAmSteve [253 posts] 3 years ago
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Seems like a huge waste of money (enforcement cameras) to me, and just another way to rake in some cash. The only way for a motorist to avoid being caught in such areas when lights change is to treat it as a "keep clear" area. That may work is some places but if there are two or more lanes, you can be sure you'll get cut up.

One reason people avoid bus lanes even out of the time restrictions is unfamiliarity. If you are driving in an area for the first time, you have to take in a lot and reading the fine print on the bus lane signs is not a priority.

A better idea would be an education campaign with advertising, then an enforcement action with warnings handed out and eventual full enforcement in person. But we know that's almost unheard of now.

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PhilRuss [390 posts] 3 years ago
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Agree with earlier comment at how annoying it is when motorcyclists use the asl. Having said that, I think introducing a fine is unnecessary and antagonistic towards car drivers. I wonder if Andrew Gilligan drives? It's incredibly easy to pass into the asl box when you drive.

Er....no. When I'm driving, I find it incredibly EASY to avoid the Advanced Stop Line for cyclists.
P.R.

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PhilRuss [390 posts] 3 years ago
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[[[[[ I seem to recall a promise of "CCTV at every junction in every town". That never happened, so I don't hold out much hope for ASL enforcement any time soon. As for the police's attitude over the years, I have had six very different excuses from the six cops I've questioned about their seemingly universal disinterest in the problem.
Let's see if TFL can do any better.
P.R.

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pantsalot [1 post] 3 years ago
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I am both a cyclist and a motorcyclist. I usually cycle to work 2 or 3 days per week and drive my motorbike when I need to. When driving my motorbike always use the "cycle boxes" as I find it much safer to do so. I normally filter through traffic on the right hand side, and come to rest in the right hand side of the box, so I very rarely impede and cyclists who are congregated on the left.
I find that whenever I cannot get into the box, I'm left sitting in a drivers blind spot. Then when the lights turn green I have to try to make my way back into the flow of traffic between the cars and buses, who are often less than accommodating.
The reason the bike boxes are there in the first place, is because cyclists are more vulnerable than other road users. But surely motorcyclists are just as vulnerable. I really think its unfair to penalise motorcyclists for positioning in the safest part of the road. Can't all vulnerable road users just share the safe zone?

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Username [182 posts] 2 years ago
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pantsalot wrote:

I am both a cyclist and a motorcyclist…..

I'm with you on this.

When I first passed my motorbike licence, on my first ride into work on my new motorbike I stopped before the ASL. The lights turned green and the Transit van beside me out-dragged me to the central traffic island leaving me "hung out to dry". I had to sit there in a very dangerous position until there was a gap in the traffic to merge with.

I never made that mistake again. So even as a daily cyclist, active and campaigning for cyclists' infrastructure, I still use ASLs when I'm on the motorbike. Principal is one thing, staying alive is something else.

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