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Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan also says cyclists who ignore red lights will be fined

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that from this week the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police will be stepping up their enforcement of Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs), often referred to as ‘bike boxes.’ Drivers encroaching on ASLs while traffic signals are red will face a fine of £60, as well as having 3 points put on their driving licence.

Plans to get tougher on motorists who illegally cross the line marking out the ASL, using CCTV cameras, were first revealed by London’s Cycling Commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, in May. He says that police will also be targeting cyclists who ride through red lights, who will be given a £30 fixed penalty notice if they are caught.

First introduced in Oxford in 1986, ASLs are the subject of Rule 178 of the Highway Code, which states:

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.

In a presss release issued by TfL today, Mr Gilligan explained: "It may be that some drivers don’t realise they aren’t allowed over the Advanced Stop Lines, and when the lights are red, those areas quite often have cars and lorries all over them, completely defeating their purpose.

“Bike boxes are a really important way to keep cyclists and vehicles at a safe distance.

“They have already saved hundreds of drivers, particularly truck drivers who have blind spots in their cabs, from the anguish of unintentionally harming a cyclist, and of course saved hundreds of cyclists from serious accidents."

TfL says that the only exception to drivers being given a £60 fine and having three points put on their licence – which can lead to higher insurance premiums – is if the lights change from green to amber and they are unable to stop safely before the first line.

Turning to the issue of cyclists jumping red lights, Mr Gilligan said: “Whilst usually only endangering the rider themselves, bad cycling does annoy and frighten people, and we are going to tackle it.

“We are increasing the number of officers in our dedicated Met Police Cycle Task Force by more than a quarter.

“Riding bikes themselves, they will target particular cyclist misbehaviour hotspots.”

During the past seven weeks, both the Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police have conducted an educational campaign that includes talking to motorists and cyclists at junctions and giving out leaflets that outline the law regarding ASLs.

On its website, the Metropolitan Police also seeks to debunk some of the ‘myths’ surrounding them.

Siwan Hayward, Acting Director of Community, Safety, Enforcement and Policing, TfL commented: “Cycle safety is an important issue for us at TfL.

“Our aim is not to penalise road users but to help educate them into complying with the rules which is why we have been engaging and educating all road users at key London locations in a run up to this enforcement launch. Our message is clear; motorists leave room for cyclists in Advance Stop Line boxes and cyclists do not cross the Advance Stop Line box during a red traffic signal.”

Chief Superintendent Sultan Taylor, from the Metropolitan Police’s Safer Transport Command, added: “With a record number of Londoners taking up cycling, cycle safety and security is more important than ever.

“The Safer Transport Command is working with Transport for London and its policing partners to improve road user behaviour across London by ensuring Advance Stop Line rules are adhered to so that cyclists and drivers enjoy harmonious journeys.”

Transport for London ASL safety tips:

Motorists

Do not enter the Advanced Stop Line (ASL) box when the light is red – this space is reserved for the safety of cyclists

Crossing the first or second ASL lines when the light is red makes you liable for a £60 fixed penalty, three points on your licence, and endangers vulnerable road users

If the traffic signal changes from green to amber and you cannot safely stop before the first stop line, you may cross the line but must stop before the second stop line (Highway Code rule 178).

Cyclists

Do not cross the second stop line while the traffic signal is red. Contravening a traffic signal is against the law, and could result in a £30 fine

More information can be found on the TfL website.

 

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.

46 comments

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jasecd [438 posts] 3 years ago
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Good.

What is needed now is ASL's at all junctions because there appears to be no reasoning why they are present at some junctions and not others.

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GerardR [133 posts] 3 years ago
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A similar system is used in some parts of New Zealand, though the box is painted green, with an outline of a cyclist. I think the colour does differentiate it better.

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Colin Peyresourde [1794 posts] 3 years ago
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Most are painted green here too. I think that is good that they are enforcing them, though there needs to be follow up with cyclists as to appropriate use.

You'd think it was the God given right and requirement that cyclists need to get into these boxes. Where it is safe and practical to move through traffic to get to the front there is no problem.

But what scares me about the way they are viewed is that they are 'traffic beaters', in that they are provided for the very purpose of cyclists beating traffic. I see so many cyclists trying to move
up through traffic desperate to squeeze passed lorries, buses and forcing themselves through gaps which are barely there without pause for thought as to 'what would happen if the lights changed now?' Drivers will not see you trying to undertake them, and if you're sidling up to a lorry or bus you may just have put yourself in a blind spot.

It isn't too bad if you know the phasing and saw the lights change (and so know that you have time to get to the front and position yourself) but in some cases it is unwise. You're better off sitting in traffic and taking position (basically taking the middle of the lane so no one overtakes you) until the traffic starts to outpace you. If you ride in London like I do you'll know what I mean.

One other thing, at the Prudential Ride 100 the Met had a road safety demonstration showing a lorries blind spots. You'd be surprised where they are. But one thing is key, try to get eye contact with a lorry driver. This way you know he has seen you, you know you're not in his blind spot. This may mean looking in his mirrors to see him, but don't just assume he has seen you - if you've moved in and out of a blind spot he may not realise where you are. They have a lot to worry about.

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PJ McNally [591 posts] 3 years ago
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£60 for people in cars, £30 for people on bikes?

If I was a lazy Daily Mail editor, I'd definitely draw attention to that. (though not to the relative potential for harm with each vehicle).

Just another stick to beat "cyclists" with. Because we're all hippie tax-dodging scum, and only poor people ride bikes, right?

(disclaimer - I pay £1000s of tax, inc VED / "road tax". As do most cyclists).

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GREGJONES [296 posts] 3 years ago
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Why only in london, surely rules is rules, where ever you are

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Al__S [1170 posts] 3 years ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

One other thing, at the Prudential Ride 100 the Met had a road safety demonstration showing a lorries blind spots. You'd be surprised where they are.

Quite. It's about the size and shape of a typical ASL with entry lane.

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mr-andrew [300 posts] 3 years ago
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It's an odd world we live in where we're surprised by a headline that basically reads 'Police to enforce the law.'

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Mattrb78 [23 posts] 3 years ago
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I would love to see this in Manchester.

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Cantab [101 posts] 3 years ago
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PJ McNally wrote:

£60 for people in cars, £30 for people on bikes?

If I was a lazy Daily Mail editor, I'd definitely draw attention to that. (though not to the relative potential for harm with each vehicle).

Just another stick to beat "cyclists" with. Because we're all hippie tax-dodging scum, and only poor people ride bikes, right?

(disclaimer - I pay £1000s of tax, inc VED / "road tax". As do most cyclists).

The rational response would be that the motorist's offence is likely to put vulnerable road users at risk of injury (similar to speeding and using a mobile phone handset), whereas the cyclist's offence mainly only puts themselves at risk, so is a lesser crime.

Not holding my breath for the Fail & co. to engage in rational thought though...

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MattT53 [146 posts] 3 years ago
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But what scares me about the way they are viewed is that they are 'traffic beaters', in that they are provided for the very purpose of cyclists beating traffic. I see so many cyclists trying to move up through traffic desperate to squeeze passed lorries, buses and forcing themselves through gaps which are barely there without pause for thought as to 'what would happen if the lights changed now?'

Exactly, I'm convinced lots of narrow cycle lanes/ASLs do more harm than good by encouraging people to squeeze past stationary traffic where they really shouldn't. There are plenty in Oxford that end at a junction with a nice left hand turn - crazy planning to me. I very rarely use the ASLs and prefer just to sit in a queue in the middle of the lane where I'm most visible. Need a really wide clear cycle lane and a decent length ASL box for it to work safely in my opinion.

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crazy-legs [850 posts] 3 years ago
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Colin has it in one.

I use ASLs where I can but I'm not going to fight my way to the front of a queue of traffic when in front is an empty road (where the traffic can accelerate easily) as that just means they'll be forced to overtake me again.

But where the road is congested and there are gaps through which I can easily filter without endangering me or inconveniencing other road users, I'll use them.

Although some are so small that it's safer to add an extra 5m to them by "jumping" the lights and holding on to a railing or something further in front of the traffic.

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Pauldmorgan [230 posts] 3 years ago
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Buses and Licensed Taxis are two big groups that abuse the ASLs and are also controlled by TFL. There should be training / communication with these groups and consequences (disciplinary, loss of licence for persistent offenders etc).

There are enough traffic cameras in London for there also to be enforcement via CCTV rather than just relying on a passing plod or the occasional "targeting of hotspots".

Cyclists rightly expect that the authorities should act to protect our interests and safety and things are improving (specifically there have been good awareness campaigns relating to lorries in London, blind-spot mirrors installed on traffic lights and audible warning when turning left fitted to many more vehicles). However we (cyclists) have a similar responsibility to improve behaviour with respect to more vulnerable road users than ourselves (pedestrians).

As a loose community (cyclists) with several organised groups (LCC, CTC, BC etc) we are not doing anything coherent about RLJ and other antisocial & potentially dangerous activity by our cohort and the hypocrisy often displayed.The relevant bodies should be working to address this in the same way as with other road users. The majority of responsible and safe cyclists should be actively improving their own behaviour - going from "I mainly obey RLs" to "I always obey RLs".

As both a car driver and cyclist I notice that when I occasionally squeak over a RL I end up getting caught by the vehicle behind at the next RL in any case - i.e. it was pointless to risk the fine / collision. The bus-stop and cinema adverts aimed at young people to make them pay attention when crossing the roads are shocking and brilliant and adding one of these relating to RLJing would be a good starting point.

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northstar [1107 posts] 3 years ago
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The cash cow culture continues - no sign of cycle paths which would destroy the need for this.

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merckxissimo [56 posts] 3 years ago
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GREGJONES wrote:

Why only in london, surely rules is rules, where ever you are

Because TfL and the Metropolitan Police don't have much remit outside of London.

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badback [302 posts] 3 years ago
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GREGJONES wrote:

Why only in london, surely rules is rules, where ever you are

I wish they would roll this out nationwide as it is one of my pet hates.

I think some of it could be down to lack of driver education though as they are a relatively new thing and if they were not around when you took your test and don't ride a bike....

[bracing myself to be shot down in flames]

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alexb [160 posts] 3 years ago
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I wish they would make them larger and redesign the position of them.

In a car, it may not be possible to spot the first white line since it sits a long way behind the traffic light. In general you have to remain aware of your mirrors and your spacing to the car in front. Most drivers take the cue for the actual stop line from the position of the traffic light.

The ASL should be in front of the light and cyclists exit from the ASL should be controlled by a separate smaller light at the ASL.

Rather than a box, it should just be a yellow box junction and the highway code should be changed to allow cyclists to occupy yellow boxes.

Everyone understands the rules with regards to yellow boxes and traffic lights.

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Colin Peyresourde [1794 posts] 3 years ago
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Al__S wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:

One other thing, at the Prudential Ride 100 the Met had a road safety demonstration showing a lorries blind spots. You'd be surprised where they are.

Quite. It's about the size and shape of a typical ASL with entry lane.

It also depends on the cabs. The guy in the cab explaining the blind spots had a policeman on a bike move about the lorry on his bike while I was sat in the drivers seat. He had about four or five mirrors on the offside to cover that area. But you could still drop out of sight, the scariest one was that is you moved to the pavement you were invisible, but up close you were in a mirror.

Also some cabs are situated further back which meant that cyclists just in front of the cab could not be seen. There was a lot for the driver to check. In a busy part of town, where you don't know where you are going it would be a nightmare.

ALWAYS watch to see if the driver has seen you, make eye contact. The policeman was in full agreement (as crazy legs suggests) that it is better to pull forward beyond the ASL to ensure that a driver can see you.

People on this site gets their knickers in a twist about driver aggression. These do end in cyclists being harmed, but these assaults are usually calculated to injure and not kill. The real danger is not being seen as the action will not be calculated and a driver will not realise the damage until it is too late.

You can't really do too much to stop idiots driving (or good citizens having a bad day), but you can make sure drivers are aware of you.

Btw there were only 7 cyclist deaths in London last year (zero would be a good figure), but this was much lower than pedestrians and motorcyclists. Something to be thankful of in the grand scheme of things (and hopefully a balance to some of the tirades we get on here).

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KiwiMike [1271 posts] 3 years ago
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Let's not forget kids - £60 is ***nothing*** compared to the price hike you'll see on your insurance premium for years afterward, should you get those 3 points.

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andycoventry [110 posts] 3 years ago
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alexb wrote:

I wish they would make them larger and redesign the position of them.

They are - approval has been given by DfT for ASLs in some instances to be made considerably deeper.

alexb wrote:

In a car, it may not be possible to spot the first white line since it sits a long way behind the traffic light.

I disagree totally, ASLs are generally 4/5m deep, if you cannot see what is that close in front of you, you are either driving too close to the person in front or should get your eyesight checked.

alexb wrote:

The ASL should be in front of the light and cyclists exit from the ASL should be controlled by a separate smaller light at the ASL.

This exists of sorts at some locations in London, a so called 'early start'. An example is installed currently on Bow roundabout.

alexb wrote:

Everyone understands the rules with regards to yellow boxes and traffic lights.

Hmmm really?.....

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notfastenough [3718 posts] 3 years ago
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I have to say I usually jump the line by a couple of metres anyway - the head-start that the ASL gets you just isn't enough otherwise.

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zanf [898 posts] 3 years ago
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Al__S wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:

One other thing, at the Prudential Ride 100 the Met had a road safety demonstration showing a lorries blind spots. You'd be surprised where they are.

Quite. It's about the size and shape of a typical ASL with entry lane.

Here is a youtube video demonstrating the view from the cab of a HGV

ASL are the sign of bad infrastructure design and do not feature as a primary solution in the Netherlands.. Why put cyclists back in front of all the fast moving traffic theyve just had whizz past them?

Also, I see time and time again, cyclists not using the box, just sitting in single file on the left, in the gutter, waiting for the lights to change. Just more wasted paint like the pollution collecting blue death traps.

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simeond [20 posts] 3 years ago
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I think the Met police demonstration of HGV's and ASL demonstrate they should be longer.

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Colin Peyresourde [1794 posts] 3 years ago
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zanf wrote:
Al__S wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:

One other thing, at the Prudential Ride 100 the Met had a road safety demonstration showing a lorries blind spots. You'd be surprised where they are.

Quite. It's about the size and shape of a typical ASL with entry lane.

Here is a youtube video demonstrating the view from the cab of a HGV

ASL are the sign of bad infrastructure design and do not feature as a primary solution in the Netherlands.. Why put cyclists back in front of all the fast moving traffic theyve just had whizz past them?

Also, I see time and time again, cyclists not using the box, just sitting in single file on the left, in the gutter, waiting for the lights to change. Just more wasted paint like the pollution collecting blue death traps.

I'm a little disappointed with the youtube video as each time the camera moves to show where the cyclist is, so they don't exact disappear in the way that you would if you were cycling past the vehicle. It sort of ruins the impact. But I can appreciate that this has been filmed by a well meaning team from the Met.

I know there are limitations to ASLs, but they are the cheapest option to our old and creaking infrastructure. I dislike comparisons to the Netherlands. I know they have a similar population density, and that they have a better bike network, but post-war they had the opportunity to change their country. I sort of see the problems here are cultural as much as infrastructure.

Perhaps I'm just being pessimistic, but I feel like we have travelled too far down the road that cars built (or the world we built around cars), and that a lot of money is needed to change both (and money is scarce).

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MarRun [50 posts] 3 years ago
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“During the past seven weeks, both the Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police have conducted an educational campaign that includes talking to motorists and cyclists at junctions and giving out leaflets that outline the law regarding ASLs.”

I saw the police out in force on City Road about a week ago as I was walking past the junction. I asked what was happening and was told by one that it was an operation to catch red light jumpers. I would approve of that, as it is not a compact junction and vehicles jumping a red light, particularly going from Angel towards Old Street, are still moving within the junction after other users have a green light. I had no objection to ALL red light jumpers being educated, warned or penalised.

Watching for a minute or two, it was obvious that it was not ALL red light jumpers, just those on bicycles. Groups of officers waiting on the exit roads pulled over cyclists who were transgressing, but there were no officers at the stop lights informing or educating either cyclists or motorists. With the standard of driving and cycling around here, a little education on the legalities and lane positioning at a junction for all road users would be beneficial. I asked the PCSOs who were standing around beside the ASL why they were not warning (I knew they couldn’t penalise)the drivers who had driven into the ASL on the red light, right in front of the police, with one driver still on his phone. They replied that “we don’t do that” along with comment about cyclists being dangerous.

So yes, Chief Superintendent Taylor, cycle safety and security is more important than ever. I fail to see however, that sting operations that target only the less dangerous and more vulnerable road users are improving safety when the same officers ignore the more dangerous law breakers right beside them. Enforce for all, or target the more dangerous offenders.

The operation I saw did not fill me with confidence and from my conversation with the officers, I came away with the impression that educating road users would be difficult, as those charged with enforcing the law had only a hazy grasp of it themselves.

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thereverent [435 posts] 3 years ago
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At last!
 4

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northstar [1107 posts] 3 years ago
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northstar wrote:

The cash cow culture continues - no sign of cycle paths which would destroy the need for this.

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jacknorell [969 posts] 3 years ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

People on this site gets their knickers in a twist about driver aggression. These do end in cyclists being harmed, but these assaults are usually calculated to injure and not kill. The real danger is not being seen as the action will not be calculated and a driver will not realise the damage until it is too late.

Ehm, an intentional collision is an aggressive assault with a potentially lethal vehicle where the outcome cannot be foreseen. It's easy to fall off and smash your head open. Or get hit by a following vehicle, other cyclist, or motorbike.

How on Earth can you say that true accidents are a worse problem than drivers intentionally knocking off cyclists?

Sort your priorities out, mate.

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AlexM [8 posts] 3 years ago
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My daily commute across London used to take me via the ASL'd junction of the embankment and Vauxhall Bridge Road. I'd say at least a third of the time I'd be pootling past queuing traffic as I made my way down the bicycles-only approach lane, only for the motorbike in front of me to stop when the gap got too narrow, leaving me stuck next to a lorry or bus.

And on those occassions where I DID make it all the way to the front, the box always had at least one motorbike in it. I used to make a point of deliberately plonking myself directly in front of them so that they couldn't make the speedy getaway they were hoping for.

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AlexM [8 posts] 3 years ago
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I just had a look on Google Streetview and discovered that said junction has now been made part of a "super" highway, which may help a bit with the approach lane.

However, Streetview shows a lorry and a car parked in the box...

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zanf [898 posts] 3 years ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

I know there are limitations to ASLs, but they are the cheapest option to our old and creaking infrastructure. I dislike comparisons to the Netherlands. I know they have a similar population density, and that they have a better bike network, but post-war they had the opportunity to change their country. I sort of see the problems here are cultural as much as infrastructure.

Perhaps I'm just being pessimistic, but I feel like we have travelled too far down the road that cars built (or the world we built around cars), and that a lot of money is needed to change both (and money is scarce).

Well, if really you feel that, lets not bother at all then and just suck it up with the shitty, death trap infrastructure that we have.

BTW, the Netherlands made the choice to move to infrastructure designed for people in the mid 70's, not "post-war" (Although technically, right now is post-war).

Colin Peyresourde wrote:

I know there are limitations to ASLs, but they are the cheapest option to our old and creaking infrastructure.

They are not cheap because they are a false economy. Just like the death trap blue paint and advisory white lines as 'cycle paths'.

Its all bullshit infrastructure that the more time and money we spend on putting this rubbish on our roads, the more people will be killed by it and the worse our towns and cities will become, until the point when collectively we finally admit they do not, nor ever will, work.

The only cultural difference between the Netherlands and
the UK is that the UK is too scared to face up to the fact that to have liveable cities, it needs to make the car the least convenient form of transport.

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