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Signals on Cambridgeshire’s guided busway meant to give priority to buses

Cambridgeshire County Council has changed the way a set of traffic lights aimed at giving priority to buses using the guided busway in St Ives operates – because cyclists have discovered how to trigger the sensors and get themselves a green light too. The local authority says the issue is adding to congestion in the town.

The junction, where the guided busway meets Harrison Way, has a traffic light controlled crossing intended for use by people on foot and bike, reports the Hunts Post. But some cyclists realised that staying on the guided busway and activating the sensor as they rode past would change the lights.

A council spokesman said: “An engineer went to adjust the lights after we got reports that cyclists were triggering them. Since the changes we’ve had no reports of this happening.

“The cycle route along the guided busway continues to be used by many cyclists. There’s been lots of sunshine and using this cycle route is a great way to get outdoors to enjoy the summer whether you’re commuting or cycling for leisure.”

The Hunts Post says that a number of drivers have claimed that the time spent to negotiate Harrison Way has lengthened since the guided busway came into operation in 2011, though the council disagrees.

It adds that two years ago, a volunteer-staffed transport and environment working group surveyed traffic on Harrison Way and in a report to St Ives Town Council that during morning rush hour from 7am to 9am, the lights turned red every two minutes, for an average of 21 seconds.

That meant that during those two hours, traffic was held at the lights for a total of 23 minutes each morning.

Connecting Cambridge with St Ives and Huntingdon, the guided busway opened in August 2011 and covering 25 kilometres is the longest such facility in the world.

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.