New Traffic Lights Aim To Cut Cyclist Deaths

Kyra Hanson
By Kyra Hanson Last edited 33 months ago
New Traffic Lights Aim To Cut Cyclist Deaths
Low level cyclist traffic lights and the 'two-stage right turn' in action

What do you get when you mix a cyclist, a busy junction and turning traffic? The perfect set up for a traffic accident — in fact 85% of incidents involving cyclists occur under these circumstances.

New safety cycling measures are being unveiled today at Cambridge Heath Junction on Whitechapel Road in east London, which TFL says will "significantly cut the cyclist casualty rate".

The potentially life-saving measures are the first to be implemented in the UK and involve separating the traffic to cut the chance of collisions. It's the first of at least 11 which will be rolled out across the city's smaller junctions.

The measures include early release traffic lights for cyclists — giving those on two wheels a head start when turning left or going straight ahead.

For right-turning traffic a 'two-stage right turn' will reduce the risk of cyclists waiting in the middle of the road through new marked waiting areas.

The video above shows the early release traffic lights which will be unveiled today.

The scheme is part of the Mayor's wider plans to make cycling in London's streets safer, including Cycle Superhighway 2 — now 50% complete — and plans to make safety improvements to 33 larger junctions.

A scheme to give cyclists more time at green traffic lights through thermal technology is still being tested.

Last Updated 25 August 2015

Paul Draper

The cyclists do not get an early start, in fact the cars get to leave slightly earlier!

Paul Draper

The surface is intolerable being ridged like a corrugated sheet and along Whitechapel Road yesterday the lanes were under several inches of water due to no drainage being provided. If this is to design then the designers should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. If it’s a case of the contractors cutting corners to save money then they should be made to correct the problems at their own expense.

David Hembrow

The video rather simplifies things: This does nothing much to help anyone who arrives at the traffic lights on a bike while drivers already have a green light.

London is still copying inferior ideas. Two stage turn junctions with designs similar to this have proven to be lethal for cyclists in Copenhagen and a similar design in Amsterdam is the most dangerous junction in that city. If London wants to emulate the successes of cities elsewhere in providing for cyclists, why doesn't TfL copy from the safest and most convenient Dutch junction designs ?

Giles Cudmore

This new junction at Mile End Road / Whitechapel is awful, it will only work if EVERYONE follows the rules, which they don't - some cyclists take the road rather than the bike lane, and cars, etc always edge through the lights. And I agree about the surface, it is shocking, and it gets worse the further from the city you get. This is a step back really.

Giles Cudmore

I work near this junction and I am yet to see anyone do the 2 stage turning, anyone turning right just rides up the right hand lane as they used to - with there being less lanes it looks a lot safer than previously. I will give it a test myself at some stage, see if i can work out how to turn right by going straight on and stopping.

Asparagus Tips

Junctions like this do not have 5 bicycles at them, they have 50 bikes so the cars turning left will have kittens like they already do as the 50+ swarm past and continue to do so even after the car lights have turned red