Monday, 9 January 2012

Stop Lines

I can't help wondering if both motorists and cyclists actually know what Stop Lines at junctions are all about. Am I alone, or is there a wide lack of understanding? I think its time for a rant!

Where there are traffic lights there are accompanying stop lines. When the traffic lights are red, or amber, then all traffic must stop behind the stop line. If you have already crossed the stop line then you should continue through the junction.

In the case where there is a cycle advance box at the junction there are actually two stop lines the front one is where pedal cycles must stop and the back one is where motor vehicles must stop. Pretty simple and straightforward really. So why do I need to have a rant? Because I'm fed up of people ignoring the rules and creating pressure and risk for everone.

I'll pose a simple question; When should you cross a stop line whilst either the red or amber light is showing?

Possible answers (all incorrect); When the light has just changed, when I'm in a hurry, when there is nothing coming the other way, when I want to get ahead of the traffic to stay safe, when no-one is looking, when ....

The only correct answer is: NEVER

Simple question, simple answer so why do so many motorists and so many cyclists fail to follow the simple rule?


I think there are some who genuinely don't understand the rule - if you drive a motor vehicle you should understand the rule and there is no excuse for not knowing, you must have a licence and you have access to the highway code. If you ride a pedal cycle you should understand the rule or you are not safe to cycle on the road, and you also have access to the highway code.

Some cyclists think it is sometimes safer to set off before the traffic so set off before the light changes. Sorry guys but it isn't safer, in fact it adds to the overall sense of rushing and encourages some of the other road users to behave similarly and annoys others, that doesn't make anyone safer!

Some people say "everyone else does it" - are you lemmings or people with minds of your own?

THERE ARE NO EXCUSES - just reasons

You do it because of ignorance, pressure, a need to hurry, misguided advice, peer pressure, because you can get away with it or for other obscure reasons of you own. They are reasons but don't excuse your actions.


1 comment:

  1. There is one perfectly lawful "excuse".. do not have to stop for a red (or amber) traffic light if to do so would cause a collision. That's "would" not "might", so you have to be avoiding an imminent rear-ending.

    Odd though, traffic light law, since drivers are frequently required required to do the impossible - i.e. always stop, even for amber, before the line, even though when amber first shows you may be much too close to stop.

    There are even traffic lights at the end of national speed limit dual carriageways where you could struggle to avoid crossing reds, let alone ambers. Approaching at (a legal, if not necessarily sensible) 70mph, and assuming the Highway Code's 2/3G, you'd take 4.8s to stop covering 75m. If you add thinking time thats 5.4s and 96m. Meanwhile amber only shows for 3s. Even at a more reasonable 50mph, we're talking 3.5s / 4.2 and 38m / 51m respectively.

    Mind you, that argument probably explains about 0.01% of breaches - the rest are borne of impatience or ignorance! I reckon on about three serial (me-too) red-light offenders per direction, per change, it's almost as widespread as handheld mobile phone use!