29 May 2013
Drivers who stop in bicycle boxes at traffic lights face fines of £60 and three penalty points on their licences as City Hall plans a crackdown.
Boris Johnson’s cycling czar Andrew Gilligan wants Transport for London to enforce “advance stop lines” with CCTV cameras in a similar way to bus lanes.
He believes this will help to protect cyclists by guaranteeing them a head-start on other traffic and will indicate to drivers the need to show cyclists greater “respect”.
Mr Gilligan said TfL was “pretty close” to securing a change in the law to decriminalise the offences — meaning it could take responsibility from the Met for enforcement. The purpose of ASLs and mandatory lanes is to give cyclists protected space,” Mr Gilligan told the Standard.
“We know how many cars go into advance stop boxes — probably more than 50 per cent of the time. Maybe they don’t known they are meant to stay out of them.
“At present, you have to have a police officer standing at the junction or in a police car. What we can do is stick a camera up and do automatic enforcement. That will sort out the problem.”
The plan to enforce bike lanes — with fines of £30 for drivers entering them — and ASLs is at the top of a list of TfL’s “legislative wants” that would remove often obscure rules that Mr Gilligan believes prevent TfL from making roads safer for cyclists. TfL is to ask the Department for Transport to pass a “commencement order” to allow it to penalise drivers who breach ASLs and mandatory cycle lanes, which are marked with a solid white border.
But this could also turn into a huge moneyspinner for TfL. It already issues about 20,000 fines a year to motorists who drive in bus lanes, and 140,000 a year for “moving traffic offences” such as stopping in yellow boxes in the centre of junctions.
Mr Gilligan, who denied reports that his £913 million cycling budget was at risk from expected cuts in TfL’s government grant, said: “We think if we enforce mandatory cycle lanes and ASLs, there will be much more compliance. Compliance with bus lanes has gone up dramatically.
“People avoid them even when they don’t have to. We want to do exactly the same [with cycle lanes].”
Cycling campaigner Jenny Jones, a Green member of the London Assembly, said: “Rather than posting a police officer at every traffic light, it would seem sensible to treat ASLs in the same way as we treat yellow boxes or bus lanes, so that we can use cameras to enforce this safety measure.”
Lawyer Kevin O’Sulivan, who represents cyclists injured in road collisions, said: “If this fining of motorists for breaching ASLs and cycle lanes goes ahead, it will mean that motorists are thinking about the presence of cyclists generally, which will be another step forward for cycle safety.”
Drivers who stop in bike boxes face £60 fines and CCTV crackdown