8. Approve and update necessary new regulations

Recommendation…

This recommendation is grouped into the topic: Redesigning our roads, streets and communities

8. The Department for Transport should approve and update necessary new regulations, such as allowing separate traffic lights for cyclists and implementing Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004


Official Department for Transport Response…

Following the Traffic Signs Policy Review carried out from 2008-2011, the Department for Transport is working to update the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions.

During the Signs Review, the Department worked closely with representatives from Transport for London and Sustrans to understand the changes they felt necessary, and how to move these forward.

The Department is looking to include measures such as new traffic lights for cyclists in the revised Regulations, which will be informed by the outcome of TRL/TfL’s current trials.

It is intended that the new regulations will be brought into force in 2015. As well as new traffic lights to give cyclists a head start at junctions, other measures being considered include:

  • Removing the requirement for a lead-in lane for cyclists at advanced stop lines, making it easier for highway authorities to install advanced stop lines at junctions;
  • Options for joint crossings for use by both pedestrians and cyclists;
  • New designs of filter signals for cyclists as an alternative way of providing a head start at traffic lights;
  • Options for bigger cycle boxes (advanced stop lines), to accommodate the growth in cycling, and to make it safer for cyclists at junctions;
  • Removing the requirement for Traffic Orders for mandatory cycle lanes and exemptions for cyclists, such as ‘no right turn except cycles’. This will make it easier for local authorities to install cycle facilities.

In advance of the revisions to the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions the Government has already made it easier to:

  • Introduce 20mph speed restrictions, which make streets safer for all road users. All of the successful Cycling Ambition Grant cities have plans to introduce area-wide 20mph speed limits as part of their programme to make city streets more cycle-friendly;
  • Use “Trixi” mirrors at junctions so that lorry and bus drivers can see cyclists more easily;
  • Introduce contra flow cycling so that cyclists can use one-way streets to avoid the busiest roads and junctions.

On the issue of commencing Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004“Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004, the current position is as follows:

  • Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 makes provision for local authorities to enforce moving traffic contraventions, including driving in mandatory cycle lanes. At present, these are enforced by the Police. Although Part 6 is on the statute books, it must be ‘commenced’ via an Order made by the Secretary of State before authorities can apply to use these powers.
  • Where local authorities have taken on Civil Parking Enforcement powers they can already use parking restrictions to enforce parking contraventions in cycle lanes. It is up to local authorities to decide what restrictions to apply and where. Over 90% of authorities already have these powers and the Government encourages the remainder to also take on the powers;
  • The Government recognises there is a strong desire from some local authorities outside London and from cycling groups for authorities to have extra powers in Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act to enforce moving traffic contraventions (such as driving in cycle lanes) as well as the Police;
  • The Department for Transport has agreed to consider this, and is looking at the evidence from London (where local authorities already have these powers). The evidence shows that contravention rates have fallen by up to 50%, but there is less evidence of how much this has impacted on improving safety and reducing congestion in addition, most of the enforcement effort by authorities has focused on bus lanes and yellow box junctions;
  • The Department has also looked at the evidence provided by Nottingham and Sheffield as part of the City Deals process, to understand the traffic benefits of implementing Part 6 in those cities;
  • No decision has been taken yet on commencing Part 6, but the matter is under consideration. If we decide to go ahead there would need to be a full consultation exercise to seek the views of all interested parties on giving authorities outside London these powers.

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