Cyclist traffic lights to be trialled in London

12.00 | 13 September 2012 | | 4 comments

Traffic lights for cyclists are to be introduced in London under plans to improve safety on the Capital’s streets (London Evening Standard).

Transport for London (TfL) has pledged to test the Dutch-style lights, which will be at eye-level and could be staggered to give bikes a head start.

Nine cyclists have died on London’s roads this year, but riders claim that giving them a dedicated traffic phase at major junctions could help to reduce accidents.

TfL is holding talks with the Department for Transport (DfT) about installing the equipment as it would require a law change. But Leon Daniels, managing director for surface transport, suggested that TfL would press ahead with a trial regardless.

The bike traffic lights, which could feature a green light with a bicycle logo rather than the existing ‘all traffic’ signals, are currently used in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Denmark, Spain and the US.

In the Netherlands, the traffic signals are found on segregated cycleways, but also at busy junctions. The signals can be staggered to allow bikes to cross the junction first or programmed to work in waves so that cyclists don’t need to stop at every set of lights.

There is some evidence that the bike traffic signals could reduce accidents as they mean cyclists are less likely to ‘run’ red lights.

Gerhard Weiss, of the London Cycling Campaign, said: “This would be a good idea but it must be led by demand. We wouldn’t want putting signals everywhere to be seen as a solution to the safe cycling problem. It’s not quite as simple as that.”

Click here to read the full London Evening Standard report.


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    It all feels very bitty. We haven’t tried to communicate a big positive picture. After all the Olympic cycling success, we should be trying to harness popular goodwill behind a vision which says “Cycling is healthy and benefits other road users by taking up less space and causing zero pollution. To achieve it we need to improve both the infrastructure and promote accepted standards of behaviour.”

    George Reiss, Wolverhampton
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    When did cyclists become exempt from obeying the red light at nornmal traffic lights? I am frequently amazed that cyclists are able to ignore traffic signs at will; I have even encountered a cyclist who was heading towards me in a one way street. Isn’t it time that cyclists were arrested for disobeying traffic lights and other traffic signs?

    jim, aberdeen
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    Am I reading this story right? TfL would break the law and press ahead with an illegal trial?

    Many cyclists go through red lights in order to maintain their safety. Isn’t this basically saying that they might have been right to do so all along?

    This is perhaps another good example where people can choose to be either safer, or legal.

    Such as when cyclists started using illegal flashing lights. They are more noticable, they inform other road users that you are a cyclist and they extend battery life so more likely to work for the entire journey.

    There are times that many road users may make choices to be either safer or legal.

    Dave Finney – Slough
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    Such separate traffic signals were trialled in Bristol as part of the Dft investigation into the performance of Advance Stop Lines.
    My recollection as a young(ish) Engineer on the periphery of the trials were that they didn’t work as such but did lead to the formalisation of Advance Stop Lines. The trials were back in Traffic Advisory Leaflet 6/91 (Which no longer seems to listed on DfT TAL web site)
    Without wanting “facts” to get in the way it would be instructive if it could be confirmed if the collisions being highlighted to justify this trials actually occurred at the stop lines of junctions (as up to now campaigns, like that run by the Times, have been concentrating on the turning of lorries across cyclists ~ which would on the face of it suggest that the proposed trail wouldn’t address such accidents?)
    As to the suggestion such lights would prevent running red lights? The recently published study in Accident Analysis & Prevention might suggest otherwise (

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