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Two-stage right turn, bus stop bypass, and early start traffic lights feature in short films

Transport for London (TfL) has produced three animated videos showcasing cycle safety features it is introducing along Barclays Cycle Superhighway 2, which originally ran from Aldgate to Bow but is now being extended further to Stratford.

Those are a two-stage right turn from Stratford High Street into Warton Road or Rick Roberts Way, due to go live in October, the much vaunted bus stop bypasses on Stratford High Street, which will appear in September and October, and the early start traffic lights at Bow Roundabout, which will also come online in October.

Being animations, they are over-simplified - the bus stop videos, for instance, don't show what is likely to happen when you have someone rushing to catch their bus with a cyclist coming the other way who isn't looking properly, while the traffic moving off at the lights behind the cyclists who have benefited from that early start seem to moving much more sedately than would be the case in real life.

As for that two-stage right turn, while it does give cyclists priority, the looping manouevre they have to do first, which takes them past the junction before effectively doubling back, doesn't seem to reflect the way that people on bikes - or foot, for that matter - tend to move in reality, when the shortest course is typically the preferred one.

Look at lanscaped lawn areas in a 1970s council estate that require people on foot to take the long way round, and you'll see the tell-tale 'paths of desire' across the grass that show that generally, they want to tak the most direct route.

In this case, we imagine that even assuming cyclists are aware of the route to turn right set out for them by TfL's planners - something that is by no means guaranteed - many will simply look at executing a right turn as normal from the main carriageway, perhaps waiting until the lights to their left change to give cyclists approaching from across the junction priority.

Have a look at the videos, and let us know what you think in the comments below - are these a step forward for cycle safety and something that should be adopted beyond the capital, or could the designs, and the way they are likely to work in practice, be improved upon?

 

 

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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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 2 years ago
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Oh wow, this has accident's written all over it. I see the sense in the turn, but why leave the ASL in the middle of the road?

The bus stop bypass is doomed to fail as groups of people walk across, holding up cyclists, so they are better off sticking to the road and not mixing with peds.

The advanced lights, great in theory, but then you get a red, when the traffic get a green if you are in the cycle lane. There are enough red light jumpers out there that this is going to cause a serious accident.

Good idea's, badly implemented and most every day cyclists barely use the super highways to get around, you are safer taking a lane and holding your line.

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Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
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That two stage right turn is a joke right?

Like they say about a bad jokes, if you have to explain it it ceases to be funny.

Over complicated, counterintuitive and continuing with the current thinking that cyclists are secondary to vehicular traffic and must therefore be inconvenienced as not to upset vehicles.
How about making vehicles wait whilst cyclist turn right - easy to set up a cyclist only filter?

If i came across this type of junction i wouldnt be bothered with all the faffing about and just take my chances.

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mrchrispy [453 posts] 2 years ago
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cluster f**k waiting to happen

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A V Lowe [575 posts] 2 years ago
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Any road features which need this much effort to explain how to use them have to be of questionable quality.

For the right turn clearly the designers live in a glorious bubble where the cyclists will fail to apply their ability to use the high manouevrability of the bicycle and simply make a short 'jug handle' turn into the cycle holding pen for the crossing/right turn traffic. Who on earth is going to cycle past and make that ridiculous loop back.

The bus stop detail shows a failure to deliver a positive position on how the crossing of pedestrian and cycle traffic works, not giving any clarity to who has priority at the crossing - and why would a pedestrian cross at a specific point anyway. The message on any footway-based cycle route HAS to be pedestrian priority nem con when the pedestrian is moving across the path of the cyclist.

The whole advanced traffic lights detail - clearly illustrating the expensive arrangements at the Bow roundabout is a dangerous disaster verging on the the culpably negligent. Despite the fact that 70% of the cycle traffic heads over the flyover whilst the bulk of the motorised traffic heads for the roundabout to join the A102, and one of the 2 lanes Westbound on the flyover is closed off - ideal for use to get pedestrian and cycle traffic completely away for the risk of being hit by any vehicles turning left on to the A 102 or coming off the near Motorway road, which hardly any cyclist uses, and is generally avoidable for cyclists heading North-South. Using the flyover totally eliminates the risks posed by the roundabout (short of a driver attempting to turn left and through the parapet with a 20+ foot drop onto the road below), and joining the flyover for the less confident or fast riders is a detail relatively easily addressed, and indeed provided already for Eastbound cyclists and pedestrians by traffic signals. Sadly I predict that the new arrangement will prove as deadly as the last one and we'll see another cyclist killed or maimed under the wheels of a left turning vehicle, because the quality of UK design for cycling is so crap and lacking in proper risk assessment.

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FMOAB [266 posts] 2 years ago
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Lighten up, it's a joke.....isn't it... oh!

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CapriciousZephyr [85 posts] 2 years ago
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Yeah, there's nothing but confusion about how cyclists and pedestrians are supposed to interact at the bus-stop bypass. I doubt a pedestrian will wait for a cyclist as illustrated if he sees his bus about to pull away...

But then, these people can't even spell "separate", so why expect them to be able to do something as complicated as design safe road infrastructure?

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Dr. Ko [181 posts] 2 years ago
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Two stage turns, have seen similar things in Berlin years ago: http://innercitymobility.blogspot.de/2011/08/getting-around-berlin-cycli...
Hate it because it takes twice the time, instead having the advance starting line (assuming a) You got there b) it is blocked with a car)should be fine for a right turn.

Bus stop bypass - as London cyclist are the racing type this cries out for havoc with people running towards the bus. In the City they always walk/run red lights, so what to expect here?  20

Bow roundabout, I do not care - using the overpass.

Regards,

Dr. Ko

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CotterPin [63 posts] 2 years ago
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To be fair, the ASL in the centre of the road for the right turn is presumably to allow cyclists to make a right turn with the main traffic flow if they wish to - and a reminder to motorists that they may encounter cyclists there.

I'm intrigued to note that pedestrians have to wait for cyclists before crossing the bus stop. I will be interested to see how this works. Personally I feel that this will add an extra layer of complexity for both sets of vulnerable road users whilst doing nothing to calming the motor traffic flow and making the area more civilised and human friendly.

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PJ McNally [591 posts] 2 years ago
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right at the end of the first video - "cyclists [coming from the road at the bottom] can also use the dropped kerb and shared pavement for a safer way to turn left" - oh, so it's bidirectional?

So pedestrians will need to look in both directions at once
? And it'll be at least 2m wide?  3

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Al__S [1033 posts] 2 years ago
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Bus stop bypasses are a tried and tested concept, not just in other countries but in the UK too. They are suprisingly common, not some inovative feature. Constructed properly they're safe.

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sfichele [141 posts] 2 years ago
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Anyone remember PAC-MAN?

FFS!

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Paul99 [25 posts] 2 years ago
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The right turn idea is shocking. If it does get used, what happens as all the people using it slow down for that rather sharp left turn...all the riders behind carrying straight on either slow down and bunch, or more likely, move out of the cycle lane to overtake. And people can use it to go the other way and enter that lane makign a short-cut left turn? Unless that path is as wide and clear as a normal road junction, I don't see it working.

The Bus stop - who is going to educate pedestrians that they don't have priority? At th eleast, there'll be loads of angry flare ups between cyclists and the people who have just stepped out in front of them.

Bow - remains to be seen, but looks like the fact there are two sets of lights on the approach will confuse a lot of people. If the bike lane is red and the car lane is on green, where will most approaching cyclists be heading I wonder?

When will we get someone who actually rides on London roads to design stuff?!

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nowasps [428 posts] 2 years ago
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Why should peds have to give way to cyclists when they want to catch a bus? Why not have a zebra crossing there? There should be a heirarchy of road users, with most vulnerable at the top.

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seven [150 posts] 2 years ago
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Really glad I don't live in London right now. The provinces are a mess but from this it looks like London's fast approaching "tip all the pieces off the board and start again" territory. Ouch. Be careful out there.

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ribena [179 posts] 2 years ago
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They have the bus bypasses in Brighton already, they work really well in my experience.

http://departmentfortransport.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/britain-can-do-it/

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zanf [838 posts] 2 years ago
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TfL havent got a f'king clue and yet refuse to get one, or allow anyone to tell them how to get one.

They need to just give it up, admit they dont have a scooby and spend time with Dutch and Danish urban planners learning how they solved these various issues at least 30 years ago.

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toothache90 [39 posts] 2 years ago
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i think you mean Frogger!!

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pmanc [203 posts] 2 years ago
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I like the bus stop bypasses. I'd rather briefly negotiate with pedestrians than swap places with buses, having to move into the main flow of fast moving motor traffic.

But the "early start" thing just seems like giving someone a head-start before you set the dogs on them! In the video you can see the cars jiggle, champing at the bit (sorry about mixing animal metaphors). Surely better to give bikes a separate phase as they do in the Netherlands?

And the two-stage turn seems like counter-intuitive idiocy. Cyclists and pedestrians going both ways on the pavement? The simpler version works OK in Copenhagen because it's consistent accepted behaviour at junctions everywhere.

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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More of the same rubbish with no space taken away from motor vehicle traffic it seems, shock horror.

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jollygoodvelo [1422 posts] 2 years ago
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Long way round is a waste of time. I wouldn't even see it.

Bus-stop bypass is all very well in an idealised 50s world where the roads and pavements are quiet and children walk to school in neat crocodiles. But have you seen how schoolkids simply swarm around bus-stops these days? I look forward to the first will-no-one-think-of-the-children whinge from the Mail when some dozy youth - or worse, a pensioner avoid a cloud of youths - steps into the lane and is skittled by a slow-moving cyclist.

Doomed. Still, at least they're trying.

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Chuck [546 posts] 2 years ago
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On the turn right one, the thing that really jumps out to me is that you'd basically have to stop in the cycle lane to make that sharp left turn, probably veering to the right a bit to do it, while looking over your left shoulder at people coming out of it the other way. What about the people behind you? Suppose it depends on just how difficult just taking the right turn with the traffic is but this seems like something I'd avoid if I could.

Bus stop bypass- depends on where the people heading for the bus are coming from and just how far away the loop takes you, but it seems like a recipe for accidents. People just don't look when crossing bike lanes the same way they do(!) before crossing the road, and if there's anywhere people like to spread out around and dart towards and away from it's bus stops.

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md6 [181 posts] 2 years ago
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oh dear, i can just see this all going terribly wrong, given how many cars ignore the ASL's now anyway, what odds that the new ASL at bow roundabout will be filled with cars anyway. Or that cars will watch the lights ahead and try to go on those. I'm not sure that pushing bikes onto the pavements to go around bus stops is a good idea either, hopefully I'm wrong and it won't cause even more conflict between peds and cycles (when there are inevitable near misses, crashes etc.) and cars and cycles (for not using it when they 'shouldn't be on the bloody road') Sigh. I hope it all works out.

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 2 years ago
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ribena wrote:

They have the bus bypasses in Brighton already, they work really well in my experience.

http://departmentfortransport.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/britain-can-do-it/

That Brighton one looks like it is done right, the same way they are done in the Netherlands, showing an un-interrupted bike lane. The crossing point in the TfL one is lame, because pedestrian's arriving at the bus stop will be coming along the road and will cut across the sunken cyclist priority section, and then cyclists will supposedly give way to pedestrians at the crossing point. Just keep it simple!

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P3t3 [260 posts] 2 years ago
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Bus stop bypasses are well proven, its great that these are finally being implemented!!

But the ridiculous 2 stage right appears in the Irish road planning manual (according to TFL). Why have they taken the model from the Irish (not a cycling nation) rather than the Netherlands!?! They need ridiculing for following the wrong model! The netherlands state of the art is now the "all directions green for cyclists" phase on junctions like this. Their previous best practice is also still more effective and safe than this nonsense putting the cyclist ahead but protected and then giving them time to eithere execute the full manouvre or protecting them for the second stage.

Its a start at least, but so much more work needs to be done. Does nobody with any common sense at TFL look at designs like this method of before they are released!?

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Cantab [93 posts] 2 years ago
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I don't want to pan something where they've clearly spent a lot of time thinking about how to help cyclists. But then again, they clearly let either a crazed madman or a village idiot do quite a bit of that thinking...  40

a) If your designs/features require little videos to explain how to use them, they're clearly not intuitive. Given that only a small proportion of users will ever see these videos, how are the rest of them meant to work out what they are 'supposed' to be doing.

b) Who has priority at the bus stop bypass? Pedestrians or cyclists? Its a key detail but utterly omitted from the video. Hopefully standard signage will make it clear (either a zebra crossing across the cycleway or 'Pedestrians Give Way' signs)

c) That roundabout empty is almost alright, except some motorists will probably get confused by which set of lights apply (first or second set). And are you really gonna bottle up the cyclists on the left while the traffic is moving? Because cyclists are going to have a hard time resisting the urge to jump those lights, rather than sitting waiting for a very short window to go.

d) All three of these smack of 'anything to keep those pesky cyclists from disrupting the glorious unstoppable flow of pollution-mobiles'

e) The mentality of 'lets just throw cyclists in with the pedestrians, if it avoids taking road space from cars' also seems to prevail.

Back to the drawing board TFL! Or preferably time for a fact-finding mission to the continent.

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 2 years ago
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The two stage right turn idea is moronic. No one will use it and does the UK not have turn lights? In the US you would have a turn lane and a dedicated turn light for a turn across numerous lanes of traffic

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jova54 [653 posts] 2 years ago
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I did one of the 'bus stop' trial sessions at TRL and was part of the focus group afterwards.

We were prevented from overtaking the bus on the road as this would negate the effect of the trial.

In the trial you knew that a pedestrian was not going to step off the pavement without looking because of the Health & Safety risks and so everyone acted very politely.

In the focus group it was pointed out that 'real' pedestrians would not be so amenable and would wander all over the place including walking up and down the cycle lane.

There were no road markings to indicate where pedestrians should cross, as if they would anyway, and so they crossed wherever they felt like it.

It appears the focus group's comments were largely ignored. The system may work better on the Superhighways but where the there is a shared bus/cycle lane the exit from the bypass is going to be a deathtrap.

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kie7077 [877 posts] 2 years ago
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Will the dedicated cycle path be cleaned? For some reason councils seem to think cycle paths don't require cleaning and they get covered in glass and dangerous junk.

Bow advanced lights: I've used these many times - it's been there for about a year, cars don't drive in to the cyclist box, I think this works quite well.

2 and a bit stage turn, WTF, why should cyclists have to wait 2-3 times for one turn, crap solution showing TFLs disdain for cyclists once again, why not just have a large advanced stop box and light like bow so that cyclists can get across the junction / some other solution.

Bus-stop bypasses: If people who use them say they work OK then I'm inclined to believe them. You have to watch for pedestrians everywhere anyway.

Tip, people getting in the way on a dedicated cycle lane? - get an airzound, they don't just walk out of the way, they jump!  19

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Leviathan [1986 posts] 2 years ago
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Gkam84 wrote:

The bus stop bypass is doomed to fail as groups of people walk across, holding up cyclists, so they are better off sticking to the road and not mixing with peds.

This is happening on Manchester Oxford Road, and going Dutch is an accident waiting to happen. Anyone like me will just stick to the road to avoid slowing down/crashing into pedestrians. It could be good for some slow cyclists, but what about builders on mountain bikes who like to pavement cruise? Bang, Granny is toast.

Please, please make more room for cyclists ON THE ROAD. Where there is room, take it from pavements and roads. What is the point of a 5m pavement when we could widen bike routes and keep them off pavements.

I am so glad they are supporting the British animation industry. Especially now that there will be no comeback for Rolf's Cartoon Club.

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Flippa [38 posts] 2 years ago
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I think that these designs may make less confident cyclists feel more secure when riding on those roads.

They have the option of staying in the cycle lane on the left, then turning back to make the right turn, or to move over in to the right hand lane ALS for the right turn. The more confident cyclist will take the option of joining the traffic to turn right. The less confident ones will stay in the cycle lane, and out of the traffic to make the turn.

I think the idea of a zebra crossing where the pedestrians and cyclists are likely to meet is a good one. People understand how they work and it would encourage all users to look.

While the two stage traffic lights do have a red light for the cyclists when the main traffic is going, it also has a red light for the traffic while there is a green light to let the cyclists filter through and move off before the traffic gets to move off. This is also likely to be better for the less confident cyclist, as it will keep the main traffic separate. I don't see any reason why a more confident cyclist couldn't join the main flow of traffic to go through the lights if the light is red for the cyclists.

This system looks to be designed for all levels of cyclist, with the aim of providing a system which allows cyclists and motor vehicles to be separated as much as possible, especially at the junctions.

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