The rules of red lights, part 2 – advanced stop zones
You filter through to get ahead of the motorbikes, and maybe subtly-but-deliberately block one or two of them in to make a point. You end up naughtily stopping halfway across the pedestrian crossing.
This is not how it’s supposed to happen.
Advanced stop zones
I posted a while ago that it’s an offence to cross a stop line when the light is red. Things are a little more complex with ASZs.
At an ASZ, when the light is red, cyclists proceeding in the cycle lane are allowed to go beyond the first stop line. They have to stop at the second stop line (and will commit an offence if they don’t). (RTA s. 36(1); TSRGD rr. 10(1)(g), 33, 36(1)(a), 43(2))
Everyone else has to stop at the first line when the light is red, except a vehicle which has already proceeded beyond the first line (when the light wasn’t red), which has to stop at the second stop line. (TSRGD r. 43(2))
This means two things:
- Technically, when the light is red you’re not allowed to cross the first line on your bike – you have to enter into the ASZ via the cycle lane (generally in the left corner of the box). So technically you’ll commit an offence if you come into the box on red from anywhere else. But it seems unlikely that the police would bother to enforce this.
- As before, what’s prohibited is crossing the line on red. If a car driver or motorbiker has already crossed the first line by the time the light goes red, they won’t commit an offence so long as they stop at the second line. This is why cars and motorbikes can, in some circumstances, stop lawfully in the boxes. It’s also why keeping cars and motorbikes out of the boxes is difficult for the police, who need to see when they enter the box in order to judge whether an offence has been committed.
Of course ASZs would work much better with better enforcement (perhaps by camera) to keep cars and motorbikes out. It might also help if the rule requiring cyclists to enter via the cycle lane was changed to reflect the reality of how the boxes are used.
Breaking the rules on ASZs is a fixed penalty offence – so a constable in uniform can give you a fixed penalty notice. The maximum fixed penalty for a cyclist is £30. (RTA s. 36; RTOA Sch. 3; FPO Sch. 1)
If the police choose to prosecute you rather than issue a FPN, the maximum possible fine is £1000. This will be more hassle for them, though, so it’s presumably quite unlikely, unless someone is hurt. (RTOA Sch. 2)
Photo by Danny McL from http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmcl/4646248618/