UK trials have begun on European-style cycle specific traffic lights, designed to give riders a head-start in busy traffic and help keep them safe.
Trials of the traffic light system – together with a new cyclist friendly roundabout design – are underway at the Transport Research Laboratory in Berkshire to assess whether the signals can be introduced without causing confusion to other road users.
The trials have been commissioned by Transport for London and follow in the wake of the Get Britain Cycling report published last week, which recommended that the Department for Transport should update laws and allow separate traffic lights, set at riders’ eye level, for cyclists.
The lights are already popular in Holland and a BBC video of the roundabout and mini traffic light system showing them in action can be seen here.
Currently, traffic lights at rider’s eye level are illegal in the UK because some transport planners experts fear they could confuse other road users, reported the Daily Telegraph when funding for the trials was initially announced.
However in 2009 a Transport Research Laboratory report – also commissioned for Transport for London – cited expert evidence that separate signals for cyclists could be effective at reducing fatal crashes between cyclists and drivers making left hand turns, which is known as a particularly dangerous manoeuvre.