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DfT launches road sign consultation - with strong focus on cycling infrastructure

Planned changes including low-level traffic signals and removing feeder lanes to ASLs

The Department for Transport (DfT) has opened a consultation on new rules regarding road markings and signs, many of which it says will benefit cyclists. The changes include the introduction of low-level traffic signals and bigger cycle boxes at junctions, together with a removal of the requirement for cyclists to enter them via a feeder lane on the left-hand edge of the road.

Announcing the consultation yesterday, roads minister Robert Goodwill, who is also responsible for cycling, said: “The number of signs have soared from 2 million in 1993 to over 4.6 million today. This is causing unnecessary clutter in our towns and cities.

“The proposed changes will mean greater flexibility for councils to cut the number of signs, whilst ensuring consistency and making sure our roads are even safer for cyclists and motorists.”

The planned amendments to the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 (TSRGD) are due to come into effect in March 2015, and the consultation, which can be accessed here, is open until 10 June 2014.

Some measures such as low level traffic lights are already being trialled by Transport for London (TfL), and the DfT says it has also been working with Cambridgeshire County Council and Manchester City Council on trialling head-start signals for cyclists, adding: “initial feedback has been positive and we have been approached by several more authorities with similar requests.”

It says that while some of the features planned to be incorporated into TSRGD are already authorised, by including them specifically it means that once the new rules come into force, authorities will be able to use them without seeking prior approval.

The changes in question are:

Measures currently authorised that will be prescribed:

  • Cycle safety mirrors, known as ‘Trixi’ mirrors
  • ‘No Entry Except Cycles’ signing
  • Cycle filter signals
  • Use of a red cycle aspect on cycle-only traffic lights
  • Cycle route branding - for example, wider national use of Transport for London’s Cycle Superhighways branding, and the new ‘Quietways’ signing
  • 7.5m deep Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs), to provide more capacity for cyclists
  • New road markings to help indicate cycle routes through junctions
  • Wider cycle lane markings
  • The use of the square white ‘elephant’s footprints’ markings to indicate the route for cyclists through a traffic signal controlled junction
  • Greater flexibility in designing 20mph zones and limits
  • Advanced Stop Lines covering only part of the width of the road - for example, across one lane only.

Measures that will be prescribed that have not been in use before:

  • The removal of the requirement for a lead-in lane or gate at ASLs. This will permit cyclists to cross the first stop line at any point, allowing them to position themselves where they feel it is most appropriate
  • ASLs at crossings as well as at junctions
  • Removing the requirement for signs indicating off-road cycle routes to be lit
  • Allowing smaller signs for off-road cycle routes (these proposals are not included within the draft Schedules but will be in the final version)
  • Allowing zig-zag markings at pedestrian crossings to be offset from the kerb by up to 2m, to allow cycle lanes to continue through the controlled area
  • Where pedestrian zone signs include the “no motor vehicles” sign, the zone will now be referred to as a “pedestrian and cycle zone”. This will help people’s understanding of the difference between the “no vehicles” and “no motor vehicles” signs.

The DfT also says that it “will be taking forward the opportunity to trial the “Cycle Streets” concept within the revised TSRGD. This is a bold initiative, which is being considered by some of the Cycle Cities and London, possibly including a ban on overtaking on lightly trafficked roads where cycle flows are high. Subject to any scheme trial, this prohibition could be accompanied by an advisory speed limit of 15 mph.”

CTC policy co-ordinator Chris Peck, quoted on the trade website BikeBiz, said: “All of these things are small, simple changes which will make it easier for local authorities to improve facilities for cycling.


“But it will still take political will at a local level to provided adequate space for cycling. The Government must also provide the cash.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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