Taking positions

This article was published in 1998, in Newsletter 19.

The Campaign has now published detailed ‘position papers’ on left-turn-only lanes, advanced stop lines and one-way streets. On 13 July, Dave and I presented all three to the Cycling Liaison Group. Our proposals (summarised below) were received politely by council officers but with little enthusiasm. We heard lots of reasons why our proposals could not be implemented but few suggestions as to how such problems might be overcome. We will therefore now seek political support for our proposals. To start this process we will be sending copies of our position papers to relevant elected councillors.

So, what did we say? Left-turn-only lanes and one-way streets were discussed in some detail in Newsletter 18, whilst advanced stop lines were discussed in Newsletter 17. We won’t therefore repeat all the details here. Here’s a brief summary of what we said.

Left-turn-only lanes

We explained how left-turn-lanes caused real difficulties for cyclists, and made some suggestions about how these problems could be minimised by suitable detailed design. In particular we said that:

  • The road layout should be designed so that the left-turn lane appears as a separate lane on the left, with motorists having to perform an explicit manoeuvre to get into it.
  • Straight-ahead cyclists should be protected by a continuous cycle lane from the single-lane section of the road right up to the stop line.
  • An advanced stop line should be provided at the end of the straight-ahead lane.
  • We drew attention to the left-turn from East Road into Mill Road as an example of good design.

Advanced Stop Lines

We said that advanced stop lines (ASLs) were a low-cost but highly-effective way of helping cyclists at signalled junctions, and that we would like to see them at every such junction in Cambridge. Some of the advanced stop lines in Cambridge were, however, less than ideal. We therefore suggested that the following general principles be adopted:

  • Advanced stop lines should always have a red surface
  • They should always have an approach lane
  • The reservoir area behind the stop line should always extend across the full width of the traffic lane. If there is more than one traffic lane the reservoir should normally extend across all lanes.
  • If the left-lane is for left turns only, the approach lane should be to its right.

We also asked the council to experiment with providing eye-level signals for cyclists waiting at the stop line, as was suggested in Newsletter 17. These would be easier for cyclists to see, especially when there was no signal opposite the junction, and could also be used to give cyclists a ‘head start’ before other traffic.

One-way streets

We said that many more one-way streets should be made available for cyclists to use in both directions. We suggested that the council should review each of the one-way streets in Cambridge and convert them for two-way cycling unless there was a good reason for not doing so.

Nigel Deakin