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Police in London step up enforcement of Advanced Stop Lines - fines & points for drivers ignoring them

Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan also says cyclists who ignore red lights will be fined

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:

Motorists

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).

Cyclists

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 joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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46 comments

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hood | 10 years ago
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so when does this ten year old law get enforced? still not seen any copper on the streets.... and a black cab cruised up along side, past the asl today, even ignored me when i said "hey, your in the bike box". i give up, dunno y i got my hopes up about change

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hood | 10 years ago
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so, today is the first day (in ten years) that police will enfore the ASL / bike box law is it?
Sad to see that within 5 minutes of my regular road a car was stopped in the box, with a police car diagonally behind it in the other lane (when i approached). It COULD have got there legally, but its a tight corner and VERY doubtful (Ive been riding the route for a year and it really isnt realistic), anyway, not beyond reasonable doubt. So then a scooter pulls up in front of the police car along side me in the bike box, no action from the police - shame on you, didnt you get the memo!?

during my 6 mile ride in central london i saw around 7 motorbikes all enter ASL illegally. I also saw about 6 cyclists jump red lights.

i didnt see ANY police at cycling hotspots or anywhere near an ASL (except the aforementioned police car that took no action). maybe the rain put them off, i will hold my breath and hope for ACTION on monday. and that includes action from idiot red light jumpers - please, stop it!! (the worst are those who wait at th red like for 55 seconds,,,, only to get impatient and then jump the light. 20 seconds later it turns green.....

I would like to add that the police could have easily pulled the scooter to one side without causing an obstruction to the flow of traffic, its a quite, wide ride, with ample space to have a word, remind the rider its illegal and let him on his way!

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hampstead_bandit | 10 years ago
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only commuting 2.9km each way to work by bicycle at the moment, NW1 to WC2 in London

see a lot of bad practise by all city users: many road vehicles parked in ASL boxes or racing at / jumping red lights, many pedestrians walking off the pavement (smart phone / newspaper / sandwich / brain dead)into the road without checking for oncoming traffic

and way too many cyclists ignoring the highway code; whether riding through red lights (often cutting across the red light junction up onto the pavement, and then back onto the road), riding wrong way up one-way streets, riding on pavement, riding through pedestrians using green pedestrian crossing at traffic lights

it always shocks me that when I stop at every red light on my commute, 3/4 of cyclist will jump the red light, or ride onto the pavement around the red light, or even ride through crowds of pedestrians using the pavement or green pedestrian crossing

I was run over twice last year; by a cyclist riding on the pavement in Camden by the canal, and then also by a young lad who jumped a red light next to Camden tube station as I was crossing on green pedestrian light. the second incident actually was witnessed by Police who did nothing to help me and laughed it off, despite me getting knocked to the ground with a bruised arm and jaw from the impact.

if a cyclist gets an earful of abuse from me, I make no apologies. If you try to run me over on the pavement or at a crossing do no expect to stay on your bicycle!

I always follow the rules of the road when riding or walking, and stop at every red light.

I never ride up one-way roads, I always give way at pedestrian crossings.

I am no saint, but just follow the rules because otherwise it will all go to sh*t and London's roads are too quickly heading in that direction..where the hell are the Police in this respect?

its all well and good encouraging more people to take up cycling, but when there is no training / licensing / education of safe cycling on the highway then its a bad joke for existing road users who try to maintain a standard!

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hood replied to hampstead_bandit | 10 years ago
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hampstead_bandit wrote:

only commuting 2.9km each way to work by bicycle at the moment, NW1 to WC2 in London ...........its all well and good encouraging more people to take up cycling, but when there is no training / licensing / education of safe cycling on the highway then its a bad joke for existing road users who try to maintain a standard!

VERY WELL SAID!

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Rushie | 10 years ago
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Police have been, erm, policing the right turn from Putney Bridge into New Kings Road all week. I can't comment on whether fines/points were actually applied or whether miscreants simply got a talking to. But they were pulling over both drivers and motorcyclists who stopped in the ASB, and cyclists who went through the red light. So it does appear at least in this case that the Met is applying some consistency which has long been a gripe of many on here (me included). Long may it continue.

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northstar replied to Rushie | 10 years ago
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Rushie wrote:

Police have been, erm, policing the right turn from Putney Bridge into New Kings Road all week. I can't comment on whether fines/points were actually applied or whether miscreants simply got a talking to. But they were pulling over both drivers and motorcyclists who stopped in the ASB, and cyclists who went through the red light. So it does appear at least in this case that the Met is applying some consistency which has long been a gripe of many on here (me included). Long may it continue.

The cash cow culture continues - no sign of cycle paths which would destroy the need for this.

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racingcondor | 10 years ago
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'Stepping up' enforcement should be pretty easy from a zero base...

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hood | 10 years ago
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i cant wait to see police target cars and motorbikes for encroaching into the ASL and I really hope they do stop cyclists who RLJ!!!

It would be my dream come true!

I wont hold my breath though, only yesterday I saw a police car cruise into the ASL, so I could not get in it, bloody idiots

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AlexM | 10 years ago
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I just had a look on Google Streetview and discovered that said junction has now been made part of a "super" highway, which may help a bit with the approach lane.

However, Streetview shows a lorry and a car parked in the box...

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AlexM | 10 years ago
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My daily commute across London used to take me via the ASL'd junction of the embankment and Vauxhall Bridge Road. I'd say at least a third of the time I'd be pootling past queuing traffic as I made my way down the bicycles-only approach lane, only for the motorbike in front of me to stop when the gap got too narrow, leaving me stuck next to a lorry or bus.

And on those occassions where I DID make it all the way to the front, the box always had at least one motorbike in it. I used to make a point of deliberately plonking myself directly in front of them so that they couldn't make the speedy getaway they were hoping for.

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thereverent | 10 years ago
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At last!
 4

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MarRun | 10 years ago
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“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.”

I saw the police out in force on City Road about a week ago as I was walking past the junction. I asked what was happening and was told by one that it was an operation to catch red light jumpers. I would approve of that, as it is not a compact junction and vehicles jumping a red light, particularly going from Angel towards Old Street, are still moving within the junction after other users have a green light. I had no objection to ALL red light jumpers being educated, warned or penalised.

Watching for a minute or two, it was obvious that it was not ALL red light jumpers, just those on bicycles. Groups of officers waiting on the exit roads pulled over cyclists who were transgressing, but there were no officers at the stop lights informing or educating either cyclists or motorists. With the standard of driving and cycling around here, a little education on the legalities and lane positioning at a junction for all road users would be beneficial. I asked the PCSOs who were standing around beside the ASL why they were not warning (I knew they couldn’t penalise)the drivers who had driven into the ASL on the red light, right in front of the police, with one driver still on his phone. They replied that “we don’t do that” along with comment about cyclists being dangerous.

So yes, Chief Superintendent Taylor, cycle safety and security is more important than ever. I fail to see however, that sting operations that target only the less dangerous and more vulnerable road users are improving safety when the same officers ignore the more dangerous law breakers right beside them. Enforce for all, or target the more dangerous offenders.

The operation I saw did not fill me with confidence and from my conversation with the officers, I came away with the impression that educating road users would be difficult, as those charged with enforcing the law had only a hazy grasp of it themselves.

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simeond | 10 years ago
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I think the Met police demonstration of HGV's and ASL demonstrate they should be longer.

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notfastenough | 10 years ago
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I have to say I usually jump the line by a couple of metres anyway - the head-start that the ASL gets you just isn't enough otherwise.

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KiwiMike | 10 years ago
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Let's not forget kids - £60 is ***nothing*** compared to the price hike you'll see on your insurance premium for years afterward, should you get those 3 points.

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alexb | 10 years ago
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I wish they would make them larger and redesign the position of them.

In a car, it may not be possible to spot the first white line since it sits a long way behind the traffic light. In general you have to remain aware of your mirrors and your spacing to the car in front. Most drivers take the cue for the actual stop line from the position of the traffic light.

The ASL should be in front of the light and cyclists exit from the ASL should be controlled by a separate smaller light at the ASL.

Rather than a box, it should just be a yellow box junction and the highway code should be changed to allow cyclists to occupy yellow boxes.

Everyone understands the rules with regards to yellow boxes and traffic lights.

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andycoventry replied to alexb | 10 years ago
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alexb wrote:

I wish they would make them larger and redesign the position of them.

They are - approval has been given by DfT for ASLs in some instances to be made considerably deeper.

alexb wrote:

In a car, it may not be possible to spot the first white line since it sits a long way behind the traffic light.

I disagree totally, ASLs are generally 4/5m deep, if you cannot see what is that close in front of you, you are either driving too close to the person in front or should get your eyesight checked.

alexb wrote:

The ASL should be in front of the light and cyclists exit from the ASL should be controlled by a separate smaller light at the ASL.

This exists of sorts at some locations in London, a so called 'early start'. An example is installed currently on Bow roundabout.

alexb wrote:

Everyone understands the rules with regards to yellow boxes and traffic lights.

Hmmm really?.....

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FluffyKittenofT... replied to andycoventry | 10 years ago
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andycoventry wrote:

This exists of sorts at some locations in London, a so called 'early start'. An example is installed currently on Bow roundabout.

Is that quite how it works at Bow though? (I've only ever been through it once, before the current setup, and I vaguely think that that time I got off and crossed as a pedestrian, so I don't know!).

But from other people's descriptions, I'm not sure what they have at Bow is strictly an 'early start'. Seems more as if cyclists get an extra delay!

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hood replied to alexb | 10 years ago
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alexb wrote:

I wish they would make them larger and redesign the position of them.

In a car, it may not be possible to spot the first white line since it sits a long way behind the traffic light. In general you have to remain aware of your mirrors and your spacing to the car in front. Most drivers take the cue for the actual stop line from the position of the traffic light.

The ASL should be in front of the light and cyclists exit from the ASL should be controlled by a separate smaller light at the ASL.

Rather than a box, it should just be a yellow box junction and the highway code should be changed to allow cyclists to occupy yellow boxes.

Everyone understands the rules with regards to yellow boxes and traffic lights.

"allow cyclists to occupy yellow box" are you kidding? where does the line end?! come on now, having TWO stop lines is pretty simple.

oh, and in repsonse to you saying "you cant see the white line", i dont think you should be driving, if you dont know where the front of your car is then you are clearly not safe to be on the road, jeeeez

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northstar | 10 years ago
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The cash cow culture continues - no sign of cycle paths which would destroy the need for this.

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northstar replied to northstar | 10 years ago
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northstar wrote:

The cash cow culture continues - no sign of cycle paths which would destroy the need for this.

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northstar replied to northstar | 10 years ago
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northstar wrote:
northstar wrote:

The cash cow culture continues - no sign of cycle paths which would destroy the need for this.

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crazy-legs | 10 years ago
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Colin has it in one.

I use ASLs where I can but I'm not going to fight my way to the front of a queue of traffic when in front is an empty road (where the traffic can accelerate easily) as that just means they'll be forced to overtake me again.

But where the road is congested and there are gaps through which I can easily filter without endangering me or inconveniencing other road users, I'll use them.

Although some are so small that it's safer to add an extra 5m to them by "jumping" the lights and holding on to a railing or something further in front of the traffic.

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pauldmorgan | 10 years ago
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Buses and Licensed Taxis are two big groups that abuse the ASLs and are also controlled by TFL. There should be training / communication with these groups and consequences (disciplinary, loss of licence for persistent offenders etc).

There are enough traffic cameras in London for there also to be enforcement via CCTV rather than just relying on a passing plod or the occasional "targeting of hotspots".

Cyclists rightly expect that the authorities should act to protect our interests and safety and things are improving (specifically there have been good awareness campaigns relating to lorries in London, blind-spot mirrors installed on traffic lights and audible warning when turning left fitted to many more vehicles). However we (cyclists) have a similar responsibility to improve behaviour with respect to more vulnerable road users than ourselves (pedestrians).

As a loose community (cyclists) with several organised groups (LCC, CTC, BC etc) we are not doing anything coherent about RLJ and other antisocial & potentially dangerous activity by our cohort and the hypocrisy often displayed.The relevant bodies should be working to address this in the same way as with other road users. The majority of responsible and safe cyclists should be actively improving their own behaviour - going from "I mainly obey RLs" to "I always obey RLs".

As both a car driver and cyclist I notice that when I occasionally squeak over a RL I end up getting caught by the vehicle behind at the next RL in any case - i.e. it was pointless to risk the fine / collision. The bus-stop and cinema adverts aimed at young people to make them pay attention when crossing the roads are shocking and brilliant and adding one of these relating to RLJing would be a good starting point.

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Mattrb78 | 10 years ago
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I would love to see this in Manchester.

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mr-andrew | 10 years ago
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It's an odd world we live in where we're surprised by a headline that basically reads 'Police to enforce the law.'

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GREGJONES | 10 years ago
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Why only in london, surely rules is rules, where ever you are

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merckxissimo replied to GREGJONES | 10 years ago
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GREGJONES wrote:

Why only in london, surely rules is rules, where ever you are

Because TfL and the Metropolitan Police don't have much remit outside of London.

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badback replied to GREGJONES | 10 years ago
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GREGJONES wrote:

Why only in london, surely rules is rules, where ever you are

I wish they would roll this out nationwide as it is one of my pet hates.

I think some of it could be down to lack of driver education though as they are a relatively new thing and if they were not around when you took your test and don't ride a bike....

[bracing myself to be shot down in flames]

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Bob's Bikes replied to GREGJONES | 10 years ago
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GREGJONES wrote:

Why only in london, surely rules is rules, where ever you are

Because nowhere else counts

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