Passing through a red traffic light is a major motoring offence but many drivers may not be aware that stopping before the lights can also land you in trouble. Making a simple error by parking a vehicle in the wrong place could also see drivers issued penalties.
Most traffic lights in major cities will have a system in place known as Advanced Stop Lines (ASL) which need to be respected at all times.
These ASL lines allow cyclists to safely stop at a set of traffic lights by giving them their own area to park.
Separating cyclists to vehicles is just one way towns and cities manage the flow of traffic and prevent injuries.
However, motorists who accidentally stop their vehicle inside the area will be breaking the Highway Code and may be penalised.
The Highway Code states: “Some signal-controlled junctions have advanced stop lines to allow cycles to be positioned ahead of other traffic.
“Motorists, including motorcyclists, MUST stop at the first white line reached if the lights are amber or red and should avoid blocking the way or encroaching on the marked area at other times, e.g. if the junction ahead is blocked.
“If your vehicle has proceeded over the first white line at the time that the signal goes red, you MUST stop at the second white line, even if your vehicle is in the marked area.”
Drivers also need to ensure they give cyclists enough time and space to set off from the area before accelerating away.
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If there is further traffic ahead, road users should still leave the space free for cyclists to use.
Road users could still receive punishment even if they use the boxes to park temporarily while waiting for traffic to move away.
Failing to abide by the rules can see motorists fined a total of £100 and issued up to three penalty points.
Total charges can then increase to £1,000 if the case goes to a court hearing.
However, there are some exceptions to the rule where road users may avoid being hit with the charge.
If the lights change from green to red while you are travelling through the box motorists are still required to stop to avoid jumping the lights.
Under these circumstances, motorists will not be issued a fine for parking in the cyclist bay as it was beyond their control.
Rebecca Ashton. Spokesperson for IAM RoadSmart has previously said: “Stop lines are positioned for a reason, and some have been modified to allow cyclists to position themselves in the advanced area.
“But we would encourage anyone doing this to make sure they stay within this area until the lights change and you can see it is safe to proceed.”
Police officers have previously said the confusing ruling can make it harder for police to issue fines.
Officers say they need to have seen a vehicle creep into the area when the lights are still red to issue a charge.
According to the RAC, the rules around ASL boxes changed in 2016 to introduce rules so cyclists can enter the area from any point.
This differed from previous rules where cyclists could only enter the area from a break in the white line.
The change was not well documented and has added to the widespread confusion surrounding the zones.
Published at Thu, 09 Apr 2020 13:58:00 +0000