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Green is the new red – St Ives traffic lights changed to stop cyclists riding through legally

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.

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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