Drivers who stop in bicycle boxes at tragic lights better be prepared to shell out. Transport for London is planning a crackdown that could slap motorists with a £60 fine and three penalty points if they’re caught encroaching on bikers’ space.
The organisation also wants to apply fines of £30 for anyone caught driving in cycle lanes.
The so-called ‘advance stop lines’ are designed to give cyclists a head start on faster-moving traffic, and to ensure they’re more easily seen by heavy goods vehicles. Motorists, including motorcyclists, are legally obliged to stop at the first white line before they enter the box, or at the second white line if the traffic lights turn amber or red once they’ve already passed the first line.
However, it’s a rule that can only be enforced by the police, and they’re seldom around to do so.
City Hall’s plan is to decriminalise the offence and take responsibility away from the Met so that they may enforce the rule using closed circuit television.
“At present, you have to have a police officer standing at the junction or in a police car,” cycling czar Andrew Gilligan told The Standard. “What we can do is stick a camera up and do automatic enforcement. That will sort out the problem.”
If Boris & Co. get the go-ahead, enforcement of cycle boxes would fall under TfL’s remit, alongside a number of other road rules that have proved an enormous money spinner for the organisation. TfL already issues 20,000 fines a year in bus lane fines and 140,000 fines a year for moving traffic offences such as stopping in yellow boxes in the centre of junctions.
“We think if we enforce mandatory cycle lanes and ASLs, there will be much more compliance. Compliance with bus lanes has gone up dramatically,” continued Gilligan.
“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.”