Bordering cycle lanes with white lines will not keep cyclists safe, says charity

Build segregated lanes and give cyclists right of way at junctions instead, urges CTC

The CTC has questioned elements of a coroner's report which suggested London's unbordered blue cycle lanes could be made safer if they were demarcated with white lines. The charity claim that most motorists won't be aware of the legal differences anyway.

Instead, transport planners "should build more physically segregated cycle lanes and the law should be changed to give cyclists more priority over motorists at junctions" according to CTC campaigns and policy director, Roger Geffen.

Yesterday, coroner Mary Hassell published a prevention of future death report – sent to London mayor Boris Johnson – based on the inquest evidence of the deaths of two cyclists on blue-painted Barclays Cycle Superhighway 2 in east London.  

To reduce the risk of future fatalities, Hassell said action should be taken to resolve confusion caused by the status of unbordered cycle lanes.  

Cycles lanes fringed with a solid white line are deemed mandatory, meaning it is illegal for motorists to cross or block them during times of operation and so should offer cyclists a level of legal protection. Lanes with a dashed white line are called advisory but motorists do not face a penalty if they drive in them.

But Geffen said: "Drivers don't know the difference between mandatory and advisory cycle lanes or just blue surfacing, but all of them could have the problems that the coroner describes of cyclists feeling a false sense of security.

"[It's] slightly strange in that she fixates on the difference of coloured surfacing with or without a white line – as if somehow a white line would have made a huge difference. 

"Over time we should be making sure that mandatory cycle lanes have some kind of physical protection, plus priority at junctions. Putting those two things together is important."

He said law changes to give cyclists right of way was crucial to avoid collisions at junctions. In the Netherlands and Denmark such rights of way exists and motorists are required to check behind for approaching cyclists before manoeuvring.  

However Geffen praised another of Hassell's recommendations – to educate cyclists to take up more commanding positions in the road to boost their visibility to motorists: "I have absolutely no doubt that recommendation makes sense – to make sure cyclists have a survival strategy in dealing with the woefully inadequate infrastructure."

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