Dangerous traffic lights

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
JamesBeard
Posts: 2
Joined: 8 Oct 2020, 3:09pm

Dangerous traffic lights

Postby JamesBeard » 8 Oct 2020, 3:36pm

In June, I complained to Surrey County Council about some traffic lights in Guildford that are dangerous to cyclists (and other slow moving traffic). This is the problem: unless you at the front of the queue, waiting for a green light, it is not possible to completely cross the junction, before the lights for the traffic coming from your left change to green. I've been third or fourth in the queue, the lights have been green when I passed them, but still had to stop in the middle of the junction because the traffic from left had already started moving. This only applies to crossing in one direction - the other three are all fine.

Recently I got a reply, which basically said: this set of lights was never designed for cyclists, and we're not going to do anything about it (text pasted below).

I'm not sure what to escalate this. Any suggestions? I'm sure replying to say that there is still a problem is unlikely to generate a more useful response.

Thanks.

Reference number: 1599118
Location: LADYMEAD, GUILDFORD
Details: Traffic Operations - Other

I am sorry that it has taken so long for us to give you a full reply to your enquiry.

There are currently no reported faults on these traffic signals.

The traffic signal timings are set according to Department of Transport guidelines for the layout and dimensions of the junction. Unfortunately these are mostly calculated based on vehicular movements rather than cyclists. I have checked the timings that you mention and can advise the following:

The intergreen (time between the greens including Amber time) from Europa Park to Woodbridge Road is set to 5 seconds and 6 seconds. It is not easy to adjust these timings as this junction is part of our SCOOT region for all the signals in that area. It could potentially affect all of the other signals in the region. Also if we were to increase this time period it may result in a higher risk of drivers jumping the red as they become impatient.

The detectors on the approaches to the traffic signals should detect bicycles and motorcycles. However, there are no additional detectors within the centre of the junction so it is wise not to cross the stop line just as the signals are changing when on a bicycle.

I am sorry if this is not the reply you were hoping for but please come back to us, quoting the above reference, should you feel that there is still a problem.

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 16225
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby mjr » 8 Oct 2020, 5:39pm

I think I would send one email just to check that you've understood correctly that they are refusing to hold conflicting traffic until cyclists can clear the junction because it's "not easy" to correct the signals and they wish to placate "impatient" drivers who would break the law otherwise.

Maybe I'd contact CUK HQ which is in Guildford, though lord knows why it stays in an expensive town run by people who want to kill us.

Then I'd contact the relevant county councillor (s) with that astonishing negligence.

Then if no good, I'd try to get the press interested.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

iandriver
Posts: 2366
Joined: 10 Jun 2009, 2:09pm
Location: Cambridge.

Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby iandriver » 8 Oct 2020, 5:40pm

Do you have a local cycle campaign? Unfortunately that type of fobbing off is the norm. It's very hard for a single individual to bring about real change. Taking it up with a group is often the best way. Does the local ctc (CUK or whatever the call it now) campaign there? Assuming Guildford has a member group.
Supporter of the A10 corridor cycling campaign serving Royston to Cambridge http://a10corridorcycle.com. Never knew gardening secateurs were an essential part of the on bike tool kit until I took up campaigning.....

thirdcrank
Posts: 29719
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby thirdcrank » 8 Oct 2020, 5:58pm

I'd be inclined to ask for chapter and verse of the guidance they say they are following. Apart from anything else, it needs to be read in context.

I think I understand the term "intergreen" but I cannot understand how the quoted intergreens are so short. In any case, I should have thought that the relevant timing is the duration of the green for the manoeuvre you are making.

GeekDadZoid
Posts: 60
Joined: 21 Aug 2020, 7:01pm
Location: Stockport

Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby GeekDadZoid » 8 Oct 2020, 7:12pm

thirdcrank wrote:I'd be inclined to ask for chapter and verse of the guidance they say they are following. Apart from anything else, it needs to be read in context.

I think I understand the term "intergreen" but I cannot understand how the quoted intergreens are so short. In any case, I should have thought that the relevant timing is the duration of the green for the manoeuvre you are making.


I think it is the intergreen that is the important point. It's needs to be sufficiently long enough that the traffic who passed just before the light changed from green to clear the junction. If we just look at the green duration then it as the op says is sufficient when he is an the front of the queue but not when he is further back.

Where is the location exactly?

peetee
Posts: 2470
Joined: 4 May 2010, 10:20pm
Location: Cornwall

Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby peetee » 8 Oct 2020, 7:19pm

Some time ago I started a thread on this forum about just such a junction in Southampton which had seen the death of a cyclist.
Whilst the road does not disallow cycling or discourage it via signing there is a cycle route that provides an alternative.
Could this be the case in Guildford?
Current status report:
Back on two wheels in deepest Pastyland and loving every minute. Mission: to enjoy big, bad hills again.

Pebble
Posts: 276
Joined: 7 Jun 2020, 11:59pm

Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby Pebble » 8 Oct 2020, 7:45pm

This is the guidance they should be following, you will need to get the junction measured up
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.u ... pter-6.pdf


The 'Intergreen' period is from when it turns amber at one end until the green sows at the other end. I am having such dealings with the council at the moment regarding traffic lights at road works (which I don't believe the manual above covers) anyway, the intergreen period is often set so as you need to average up to 22.5mph (10m/s) to make it safely through - near impossible for most cyclists.


I do love the quote from above
Also if we were to increase this time period it may result in a higher risk of drivers jumping the red as they become impatient.

It is not the first time I have heard this ridiculous argument either. Presumably someone thinks it is more important not to delay drivers than risk killing cyclists.

DaveReading
Posts: 186
Joined: 24 Feb 2019, 5:37pm

Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby DaveReading » 8 Oct 2020, 8:03pm

GeekDadZoid wrote:Where is the location exactly?

I was wondering that, too.

If the council are correct in asserting that the intergreen period is at least 5 seconds, then a cyclist passing the lights at, say, 8 mph just as they change to amber would travel around 60 feet before traffic in a conflicting direction got a green.

Something doesn't quite add up.

Jamesh
Posts: 1513
Joined: 2 Jan 2017, 5:56pm

Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby Jamesh » 8 Oct 2020, 8:08pm

Basically someone cannot be bothered to adjust the settings for this one traffic lights because it's too much hassle to adjust the lights of the whole locality. Typical!!!

Cheers James

GeekDadZoid
Posts: 60
Joined: 21 Aug 2020, 7:01pm
Location: Stockport

Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby GeekDadZoid » 8 Oct 2020, 8:19pm

DaveReading wrote:
GeekDadZoid wrote:Where is the location exactly?

I was wondering that, too.

If the council are correct in asserting that the intergreen period is at least 5 seconds, then a cyclist passing the lights at, say, 8 mph just as they change to amber would travel around 60 feet before traffic in a conflicting direction got a green.

Something doesn't quite add up.


I think I have worked out it is here.

Woodbridge Rd
Woodbridge Rd, Guildford GU1 1DT
https://maps.app.goo.gl/6pZ7qarjFCKabZan9

Not sure which leg causes the problem but the longest one (east to west on the a25 is about 46m to clear the junction from a quick measure. That would require over 16 mph average speed across the junction to clear.

DaveReading
Posts: 186
Joined: 24 Feb 2019, 5:37pm

Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby DaveReading » 8 Oct 2020, 11:27pm

GeekDadZoid wrote:I think I have worked out it is here.

Woodbridge Rd
Woodbridge Rd, Guildford GU1 1DT
https://maps.app.goo.gl/6pZ7qarjFCKabZan9

Not sure which leg causes the problem but the longest one (east to west on the a25 is about 46m to clear the junction from a quick measure. That would require over 16 mph average speed across the junction to clear.

I see what you mean.

The extract from the council's letter would suggest that it's cycling south from Europa Park Road into Woodbridge Road that's the OP's problem.

Given that the A25 is widened at that point to accommodate right-turn filter lanes, you're in effect crossing six lanes - so 5 seconds to get across before traffic from the east turns south into your path is ridiculous.

JamesBeard
Posts: 2
Joined: 8 Oct 2020, 3:09pm

Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby JamesBeard » 9 Oct 2020, 4:26pm

Thanks for all your useful suggestions. I will respond to Surrey Highways department, and this time I'll send a copy to my local councillor as well. Let's see if that makes any difference.

thirdcrank
Posts: 29719
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby thirdcrank » 9 Oct 2020, 4:42pm

Request a site meeting and ask that the authority's representative include somebody with a bike to demonstrate how cyclists should tackle this junction.

iandusud
Posts: 517
Joined: 26 Mar 2018, 1:35pm

Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby iandusud » 9 Oct 2020, 5:03pm

Quote: "Also if we were to increase this time period it may result in a higher risk of drivers jumping the red as they become impatient."

So let's get this clear, the council think the right thing to do is to accommodate law breaking reckless drivers rather than set the intergreen period to one that is reasonable for law abiding road users. I just wanted to be sure I'd understood what they are saying. It might be worth pointing this out to them, your local councillor and MP. It's like saying we don't want to set a lower speed limit on a section of road that needs it for safety reasons, because it might encourage people to break the law by speeding. You couldn't make it up!

alexnharvey
Posts: 1268
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:39am

Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby alexnharvey » 9 Oct 2020, 5:52pm

thirdcrank wrote:Request a site meeting and ask that the authority's representative include somebody with a bike to demonstrate how cyclists should tackle this junction.


Good idea. If they're unwilling maybe you could film cyclists crossing yourself with permission, or have someone film you.