Advanced Stop Lines – The results

I said a few weeks ago that I was going to collect some data about ASL’s and how many people I see breaking the rules on them. I took the data from a 5 day commuting period, which resulted in 149.55 miles traveled, 11 hours and 30 minutes in the saddle.

I stopped at 88 sets of traffic lights which had an ASL. 7 of those ASL’s had no vehicles that shouldn’t be in there from the time I was in it till the time I left it on the green light. At 12 of those 88, I couldn’t filter to the ASL, either due to it being full with vehicles or because the filter lane and other access routes were blocked.

At those 88 sets of traffic lights I saw 154 vehicles in them whilst the light was red. 59% of those where there when I got to it, and 41% of them I saw move pass the first stop light whilst the light was red.

54% of the vehicles that where in the ASL’s where motorbikes, the other 46% where other vehicles on the road, be them lorries, vans or cars.
On average, there where 1.75 vehicles in each ASL that shouldn’t have been there.

The highway code states, Rule 178:

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.

The highway code suggests that you should treat the ASL like a yellow box and pedestrian crossing. If you can move all the way passed it then fine, but if you will stop in it due to traffic ahead of you, then you should stop at the first stop line. This suggests that any vehicle caught in the ASL that shouldn’t be there, could be fined.

Lets see what the Road Traffic Act and The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions have to say about ASL’s. *reads sections outlined by the highway code* Well that would be nothing. Just the laws about stopping at the first stop line but nothing about ASL’s. Which means that the police can only fine someone if they see them cross the first white line whilst the light is amber or red (amber is a 50/50 ).

I’ve yet to see anyone get fined for crossing the first stop line whilst the light is red. There have been some tales told by cyclists, the police say they can only fine someone if they see them cross the first stop line whilst the light is on red. Even then I doubt the driver will get a £60 and 3 points for it, more a telling off.

TFL boast that they added new ASL’s and increased the size of the existing ones along the super highways. But what is the point in wasting tax payers money on facilities for vulnerable road users if motor vehicles just ignore them? I would have no problem with TFL boasting about them if they where actually enforced and useful to cyclists but I fear that they often act as a target for cyclists to filter to and can put them in danger.

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5 thoughts on “Advanced Stop Lines – The results

  1. I don’t think you’ve read that rule from the Highway Code correctly.

    “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.”

    That suggests it is perfectly legitimate to be in the marked area between the stop lines if the lights turn red whilst waiting in that area. Whilst it says, motorists “should avoid blocking the way or encroaching on the marked area at other times, e.g. if the junction ahead is blocked”, that doesn’t mean they can be fined if they do so. This is why, quite rightly, the police can only act if they know the motorists passed the first stop line whilst the light was at red.

  2. Laws that aren’t enforced don’t exist. Either accept that or push for enforcement.

    We’ve been exploring sending the taxi licensing authority videos of such actions

    They reply stating they have reminded the specific drivers of their responsibilities under the highway code. Given that taxis, buses and delivery vans spend the most hours a day in city traffic, and hence have more ASL-driving opportunity, these should be the primary target. We are yet to locate a bus licensing authority to raise bus-related issues with.

  3. How many cyclists did you see breaking the law?

    I tell you, we don’t want these strictly enforced as most people that break the law are cyclists entering the ASL not via the feeder lane (i.e. by crossing the line whilst the light is red).

    It’s a law I break many times a day (even though I don’t jump the junction when the light is red).

  4. I was at clapham common where some community support officers were on bikes and in the ASL with me. 4 motorbikes came into the ASL and stopped. I tried to ask the CSOs if this was in fact illegal as I’d never seen anyone being tackled for doing this. They ignored me. I carried on asking them as we rode off. The CSO who I was trying to talk to said “get out of my way please, I need to do my job”.

    unbelievable!

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