Transport for London (TfL) has announced that from this week the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police will be stepping up their enforcement of Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs), often referred to as ‘bike boxes.’ Drivers encroaching on ASLs while traffic signals are red will face a fine of £60, as well as having 3 points put on their driving licence.
Plans to get tougher on motorists who illegally cross the line marking out the ASL, using CCTV cameras, were first revealed by London’s Cycling Commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, in May. He says that police will also be targeting cyclists who ride through red lights, who will be given a £30 fixed penalty notice if they are caught.
First introduced in Oxford in 1986, ASLs are the subject of Rule 178 of the Highway Code, which states:
Advanced stop lines. Some signal-controlled junctions have advanced stop lines to allow cycles to be positioned ahead of other traffic. Motorists, including motorcyclists, MUST stop at the first white line reached if the lights are amber or red and should avoid blocking the way or encroaching on the marked area at other times, e.g. if the junction ahead is blocked. If your vehicle has proceeded over the first white line at the time that the signal goes red, you MUST stop at the second white line, even if your vehicle is in the marked area. Allow cyclists time and space to move off when the green signal shows.
In a presss release issued by TfL today, Mr Gilligan explained: "It may be that some drivers don’t realise they aren’t allowed over the Advanced Stop Lines, and when the lights are red, those areas quite often have cars and lorries all over them, completely defeating their purpose.
“Bike boxes are a really important way to keep cyclists and vehicles at a safe distance.
“They have already saved hundreds of drivers, particularly truck drivers who have blind spots in their cabs, from the anguish of unintentionally harming a cyclist, and of course saved hundreds of cyclists from serious accidents."
TfL says that the only exception to drivers being given a £60 fine and having three points put on their licence – which can lead to higher insurance premiums – is if the lights change from green to amber and they are unable to stop safely before the first line.
Turning to the issue of cyclists jumping red lights, Mr Gilligan said: “Whilst usually only endangering the rider themselves, bad cycling does annoy and frighten people, and we are going to tackle it.
“We are increasing the number of officers in our dedicated Met Police Cycle Task Force by more than a quarter.
“Riding bikes themselves, they will target particular cyclist misbehaviour hotspots.”
During the past seven weeks, both the Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police have conducted an educational campaign that includes talking to motorists and cyclists at junctions and giving out leaflets that outline the law regarding ASLs.
On its website, the Metropolitan Police also seeks to debunk some of the ‘myths’ surrounding them.
Siwan Hayward, Acting Director of Community, Safety, Enforcement and Policing, TfL commented: “Cycle safety is an important issue for us at TfL.
“Our aim is not to penalise road users but to help educate them into complying with the rules which is why we have been engaging and educating all road users at key London locations in a run up to this enforcement launch. Our message is clear; motorists leave room for cyclists in Advance Stop Line boxes and cyclists do not cross the Advance Stop Line box during a red traffic signal.”
Chief Superintendent Sultan Taylor, from the Metropolitan Police’s Safer Transport Command, added: “With a record number of Londoners taking up cycling, cycle safety and security is more important than ever.
“The Safer Transport Command is working with Transport for London and its policing partners to improve road user behaviour across London by ensuring Advance Stop Line rules are adhered to so that cyclists and drivers enjoy harmonious journeys.”
Transport for London ASL safety tips:
Do not enter the Advanced Stop Line (ASL) box when the light is red – this space is reserved for the safety of cyclists
Crossing the first or second ASL lines when the light is red makes you liable for a £60 fixed penalty, three points on your licence, and endangers vulnerable road users
If the traffic signal changes from green to amber and you cannot safely stop before the first stop line, you may cross the line but must stop before the second stop line (Highway Code rule 178).
Do not cross the second stop line while the traffic signal is red. Contravening a traffic signal is against the law, and could result in a £30 fine
More information can be found on the TfL website.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.