Changes to the The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 that come into effect on 22nd April 2016 could clear the way for improved cycle infrastructure.
Spend enough time trying to use the Council’s cycle infrastructure and you could be forgiven for thinking that they had it in for us. However, it looks as though some innocuous sounding legislation may have been responsible for at least some of it.
The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions is a UK-wide piece of legislation governing the use of signage and signalling across the UK. It has recently been revised for 2016 to not only allow councils to remove some of the excess signage that clutters the roadside, but also:
- Allow mandatory cycle lanes without the need for a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO)
- Low level traffic lights for bikes
- Parallel pedestrian and cycle zebra crossings, paving the way for Dutch-style roundabouts.
Phil Jones, of Phil Jones Associates, is a transport planner and traffic engineer who trains councils on cycle friendly infrastructure. He calls the changes “significant”, and says there is no reason, from the 22nd April, why every new bike lane shouldn’t be mandatory, rather than advisory, giving cyclists legal protection against encroaching traffic, and says people should be asking for these improvements from their local councils.
You can read a draft of the regulations from August last year until the final ones are published.
We should point out that a “mandatory” cycle lane with a solid white line, is one that motorists are not allowed to encroach on. They’re not mandatory for cyclists to use –we still get to decide what we see is the safest path.
It’s also worth reiterating the point made in the Road.cc article. The regulations do pave the way for better infrastructure –between this and the Active Travel Design Guidance there are few excuses left for the council. However, political will is not a given particularly among councillors.
We need to be drawing attention to these changes when the council decides to take the easy option in any plans for infrastructure changes. However, these regulations will be in place next week, giving the council plenty of time to consider them as they draw up their integrated network plans.