Cambridge approves UK's first cycle-only green lights at notorious blackspot junction

New signals will give bikes a five-second headstart over other traffic

by Sarah Barth   August 17, 2013  

Green Cycle Traffic Light - James Cridland

Cambridgeshire County Council has signed off what's claimed to be the UK's first advanced green light for cyclists, giving them a few seconds to move off in safety ahead of other vehicles.

The junction at the Catholic Church on the Hills Road approach - a notorious blackspot that has seen 11 cyclists injured in collisions over the last five years to May 2013.

The Department for Transport has approved the plans, and work will be completed by autumn. 

It comes as part of a wider £900,000 improvement scheme for cyling in the city.

The new style of lights could set a precedent in the UK and become widespread. They will be complemented by Trixi mirrors, new road surfacing, a red advanced stopping area, and new street lighting around the junction.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Noel Kavanagh, Cycling Champion, said: “I am glad that the Department for Transport has backed this trial and hope, if it is successful, to see it used at other junctions in Cambridge and in other parts of Cambridgeshire.

"This should improve safety for all users at the junction as it allows cyclists to clear the junction giving extra space also for motorists. This is just one of a range of cycling improvements that are being introduced across the County.”

Cycling Campaign spokesman Robin Heydon, said: “Cambridge Cycling Campaign welcomes the trial of cycle traffic lights at this junction.

"Similar bicycle traffic lights are very common elsewhere in Europe, and we expect they are equally successful here. Enabling those on cycles to have a head start over motor vehicles will help those who are less confident, increasing the perceived safety that is important to get more people using bicycles.

"Once this trial has been formally evaluated, we would like to see this rolled out to many other light controlled junctions in Cambridgeshire and around the UK."

At the time the junction improvements were announced, we reported how Cambridge Cycling Campaign chairman Martin Lucas-Smith had condemned the plans. He told the Cambridge News outside the council meeting: “Stuffing evermore traffic through this accident-prone junction clearly remains the priority.

“We think this is totally inappropriate for a ‘cycling city’, and against its own policy to favour cycling and walking.

“The scheme is better than the current junction design, but it would be hard to make it otherwise.”

Although the Bow roundabout redesign in London also features two “bike only” lights to allow riders a few seconds' head start over drivers, the Cambridge junction is the first to use an advance stopping area within the main traffic lane.


9 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Im pretty sure that we have a set of these in Brighton on The Drove heading North. Been there for a few months now.

posted by mbell [36 posts]
17th August 2013 - 16:35


What's the betting that over 50% of drivers just go on the cyclists' green light?


posted by stewieatb [299 posts]
17th August 2013 - 18:40


there are also cyclist only greenlights on Glasgow's Waterloo St.

the danger of regurgitating press releases I'm afraid

Buddha said:

Believe nothing, No matter where you read it,
Or who has said it, Not even if I have said it,
Unless it agrees with your own reason
And your own common sense.

mad_scot_rider's picture

posted by mad_scot_rider [579 posts]
17th August 2013 - 19:10


Also present in York!

posted by mcaley [5 posts]
17th August 2013 - 23:04


stewieatb wrote:
What's the betting that over 50% of drivers just go on the cyclists' green light?

+1 This failed at bow, still ignoring what people are asking for.

posted by northstar [1113 posts]
18th August 2013 - 10:26


It's nice that we're being considered, but the majority of road users ignore the green cycle boxes at lights, so they'll probably ignore these too.

posted by Sentral [11 posts]
18th August 2013 - 14:21


Yeah this would sadly never work in the US. Drivers see Go and the race would be on cyclists be damned Sad

posted by jarredscycling [457 posts]
19th August 2013 - 14:33


We've had these in Brighton for about a year now So not sure why Cambridge is claiming to be the first.
But hey ho... they work, that's all that should matter

I'm only here for the cake

Dizzy's picture

posted by Dizzy [66 posts]
19th August 2013 - 18:06


They've been on the old shoreham road cycle path in Brighton for about a year and they do seem to work without drivers using them as their green! The actual lights are angled down and across the road rather than directly toward traffic so they are actually difficult to see if you are in the car(I drive and cycle along here).!

posted by Jimih73 [29 posts]
19th August 2013 - 18:18