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Vehicle/cycle conflict halves in Glasgow trial of bike-activated traffic signs

Flashing signs linked to sensors to warn drivers of cyclists approaching to be deployed at 16 key junctions

Conflicts between motor vehicles and bikes have halved at a junction in Glasgow according to initial results from the trial of bike-activated traffic warning signs which are set to be rolled out in Scotland’s largest city.

Q-Free, which has announced a four-year partnership with Glasgow City Council to supply and install cycle detection equipment and associated services, says that its systems, which can feature up to three signs and associated sensors, will be installed at 16 different locations.

The interactive and customised flashing signs alert drivers that cyclists are approaching a junction or are in the cycleway ahead, where visibility may be obstructed as a result of buildings or street furniture, and include solar panel-powered controller boxes. The signs themselves are triggered by a cyclist riding over a sensor some 75 feet from the junction.

The sites have been chosen based on historic collision data as well as their potential to reduce conflict between cyclists and other road users, and an initial trial at one location with a history of such incidents saw them fall from 17 per cent to 8 per cent of interactions, while the percentage of motorists who did not give way to cyclists fell from 35 per cent to 22 per cent.

Christine Francis, head of technical services at Glasgow City Council, said the partnership aimed to increase the safety of cyclists.

“A key aim for Glasgow City Council’s strategic cycling plan is to create a vibrant city where cycling is accessible, safe and attractive to all,” she said. “Safety is seen as the main barrier to people cycling more frequently, so improving cyclist safety is a cornerstone of our efforts to promote a shift to more sustainable forms of transportation.

“We worked closely with the Scottish team at Q-Free on an integrated system that gives priority to cyclists at signalized crossings. The success of this solution led to further partnership working and idea sharing.”

“Glasgow City Council was the first local authority in the UK to install cycle activated electronic signage on the road network,” she added. “We have since installed these at  further 16 locations around the city to help improve safety for cyclists.”

According to the Glasgow Indicators Project, levels of cycling into and out of the city centre increased by 111 per cent from 2009-18, with a 22 per cent increase in the final year of that decade alone, and it is likely there will have been further growth in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Colin Reekie, Q-Free UK’s head of business development, Colin Reekie, commented: “Glasgow has truly embraced alternative mobility.

“Bicycling has become such a part of the community as the city centre becomes an increasingly attractive place to live, work, and play, and we couldn’t be more excited to help the region protect their most vulnerable road users.”

Simon joined 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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geomannie 531 | 2 years ago

I use this route. It's almost impossible to say if the new electronic signage is helping or not. It's equally possible that drivers are simply getting used to the new cycleway.

As a pertinent counter argument, when the new cycleway was installed, pedestrians were nearly universally wandering on to the cycleway without looking. Not so much now as they are expecting cyclists and generally stay off the path.

To quote the old lament, more data needed.

Prosper0 | 2 years ago

Good. But it still seems like a sticking plaster solution. This is all curing symptoms rather than dealing with the causes, you can't put these signs at every junction. 

Safety | 2 years ago
1 like

While we all appreciate that just like all public services the Police resources are stretched. You would have thought that where information is available that 35% of motorists break the law at a specific location it would allow for some targeting of resources.
Oh wait a minute, it's Police Scotland and only the lives of vulnerable road users would be saved.

Tom_77 | 2 years ago


the percentage of motorists who did not give way to cyclists fell from 35 per cent to 22 per cent

That's a big improvement, but 22% of motorists failing to give way is still a shockingly high number.

hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
1 like

That sounds really impressive. Maybe a few junctions around London would benefit from this.

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