From the archive: New in 2013: Cambridge gets UK’s first advance green light for cyclists

This article was published in 2019, in Magazine 143.

Advance green lights for cycles at busy junctions

Published on our blog (12 April 2013)

For some time now we’ve been pushing the idea of advance green lights for cycles at busy junctions. You can read more about these in a Newsletter article we wrote last year, though we’ve wanted to see these for much longer.

Advance green lights have long been used on the continent, so this is not a new idea. Quite simply, those on bikes get an early start from a separate light, that is, an advance green light.

When a driver of a motor vehicle is first in the queue, their concentration is on the lights, and they may become almost mesmerised waiting for the lights to change. They may fear that if they look away the lights will change, and they will then get hooted at by an impatient driver. They are unlikely to see a bike alongside. In addition, some 30% of drivers turning left will not give an adequate signal.

Advance greens do not remove the need to make proper space at junctions – since that is what will encourage new people to cycle, but are a very useful addition to this.

We asked for such lights at the Catholic Church junction (in our consultation response), where a signalling replacement scheme (50% of which is being paid for from DfT cycling safety funds) is going ahead, despite our view that the scheme does not go anything like far enough. The county council have decided to press on anyway.

We have written to the DfT to support the county council’s application for such lights. Despite our strong reservations about the junction changes, advance greens have long been a separate aspiration of our organisation, and we are hopeful for a Campaign success in this area.

The first advance green light in the UK was installed in 2013 at the junction where Hills Road joins Lensfield Road and Gonville Place.
Image as described adjacent