Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

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Spinners
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Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby Spinners » 19 Sep 2017, 2:24pm

I like to go out for a quick 20km blast before work early on a morning (before 06.00hrs) on a route that's mainly on the road but with a short section of single-track and a nice tarmac bike path through the forest. It's a lovely start to the day and especially in the Spring and Summer.

However, roadworks with temporary traffic lights cropped up on the single-carriageway road section of this route and I noticed that a cyclist arriving with the lights on red and then moving away on green had no chance of getting to the other end of the roadworks even when giving it a bit of welly. I was able to speak to the contractor who was responsible for the roadworks and the traffic management but he had no real interest, explaining that if they increased the time then motorists would get annoyed - I kid you not. I got so cheesed off with this that I shortened my ride to avoid this section which also cut out the lovely forest part of the ride and I also tried other routes. Thankfully, the roadworks disappeared for a few weeks ago and I could get back to my favoured 20km route.

However, this morning, a new set of temporary traffic lights have appeared with the opposite lane coned off and I arrived at them with the lights on red and with one car ahead of me so I'm second in the queue. The lights turned to green and we moved off with the car going swiftly out of sight. I'm no Chris Hoy but I'm no Augustus Windsock either and I briskly cycled along and around the bend to see a car waiting at the red light. To my horror, with about 100m to the end of the roadworks, the lights turn to green and he heads my way passing me at a reasonable speed but giving a little beep of rebuke. It's hard to explain that it's not my fault! Things suddenly get worse as another car heads towards me but this car has not had to slow down for the traffic lights as they are on green and he approaches me at speed and with his horn blaring away. Scary.

Whilst in work this morning, I phoned the local council and was put onto a guy in 'streetworks' and explained my story. He was very sympathetic and apologetic but when I asked him what their policy was on traffic light timings and what average speed for bicycles they used to calculate the timings he could only reply that, "It's something we've never considered before as we sub-contract this out". To be fair to him, he's promised to get back to me about it but I was just wondering if anyone has any insight into this aspect of roadworks? Is there any obligation to allow for cyclists or any other 'slow vehicles'? If so, what average speed is used?
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meic
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby meic » 19 Sep 2017, 3:19pm

I had a local one in a twenty mile per hour speed limit which I entered doing 20mph on green going to amber (in my car) and I still didnt reach the end before the other traffic had a green light!

It is also quite common to "miss a turn" because the few red light jumpers coming the other way use up the whole time allocated to your side, I dont think they would manage to mess things up that badly if the lights had a more reasonable red-red gap.
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thirdcrank
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby thirdcrank » 19 Sep 2017, 3:35pm

I seem to see more roadworks where the traffic management sub-contractors have somebody there operating the lights with some sort of a remote control. Not that it necessarily makes things much better. It looks as though the operator would prefer to be anywhere but in the cab of a tranny operating traffic lights. It can be particularly bad if the van is parked facing one way, rather than at right angles to the road: I've seen a couple of bad examples where the road was clear in front of the operator but a long queue had formed behind, presumably because they were too idle to see what was happening behind them. Luckily for me, I've always been on the clear side, but I've felt sorry for some poor so-and-so's queuing unnecessarily on the other side.

Bearing in mind the many drivers who will bash on into narrow roadworks when they can see it's blocked at the other end or will deliberately RLJ (I've stopped at red in a car more than once and been overtaken by somebody further back in the queue) it's not surprising that some lack the wit to understand a cyclist's plight. And enforcement zilch.

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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby rjb » 19 Sep 2017, 6:55pm

This is a regular occurrence. I now stop until the approaching traffic ceases then go for it even if the lights are still red. Did this today and the cars followed me ignoring the red light. In the past I have had a stream of cars coming towards me when i had waited for a green light, i had a queue of traffic behind me. I pulled over into the coned off section and carried on leaving two opposing queues to sort it out themselves under the gaze of the road menders who couldn't give a toss. :lol:
Whatever happened to the traffic light rules which clearly state that green means go only if it is clear. :mrgreen:
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Spinners
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby Spinners » 19 Sep 2017, 7:33pm

rjb wrote:This is a regular occurrence. I now stop until the approaching traffic ceases...


The problem was that the traffic lights were on a bend so I set off in hope that I'd reach the other end OK without any knowledge of the length of the roadworks. At 06.15hrs there was a fair chance that there wouldn't be any oncoming traffic but there was and the cones were on the opposite side of the road. I guess that with me being a fellow human being I was hoping that the first car would wait in some sort of realisation as to what had happened but they must have both thought of me as a RLJ :roll:

If they are there in the morning I'll get into the cones asap and worry about getting back into the correct lane at the end :wink:
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby landsurfer » 19 Sep 2017, 7:41pm

Feel free to shoot me down on this one, for all our benefit.

But;

Temporary Traffic Lights are "Advisory" only.
Traffic lights need an act of Parliament to install and have legal standing.
You cannot be charged with the offence of "non compliance" .. but if you cause or are involved in an accident for ignoring temporary traffic lights you may be subject to other charges .

Or words to that effect .... I believe....Having taken advice from my friendly Whig.
Last edited by landsurfer on 19 Sep 2017, 7:44pm, edited 1 time in total.
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rjb
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby rjb » 19 Sep 2017, 7:42pm

I find i dont always trigger the lights if i am on a bike. :( Then you have to proceed with caution. :shock:
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landsurfer
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby landsurfer » 19 Sep 2017, 7:44pm

rjb wrote:I find i dont always trigger the lights if i am on a bike. :( Then you have to proceed with caution. :shock:


Or stop ??
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gaz
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby gaz » 19 Sep 2017, 7:59pm

The "Red Book" is the go to document for those installing new holes in the highway or conducting similar works. It has legal force under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991.Somebody on site is expected to be responsible for compliance with the code.

Page 62-66 covers use of temporary traffic lights, including a note:

When using two-way portable signals to control traffic, you must consider the following:
...
the needs of cyclists and other vulnerable road users;

Of course, considering their needs is no guarantee of actually catering for them.
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awavey
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby awavey » 19 Sep 2017, 8:16pm

I suspect the issue at heart is the subcontracting it out part to a company who are rarely encouraged to consider such niceties.

I encountered one of these setups that was on a hill once, and was already worn out from the ride upto that point, so there was no chance I was going to make it, sprinting and climbing being neither things Im particularly fond of, fortunately traffic coming the other way only appeared as I made it to the other end, but there was no chance the average cyclist was going to make it in time. tbf I never thought about complaining about it, I just assumed we had to put up with it.

thirdcrank
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby thirdcrank » 19 Sep 2017, 8:30pm

On the contrary, it's the increasing attention to detail as linked by gaz that causes statutory undertakers to employ specialist companies to handle their temporary traffic lights and all the rest of the caboodle. I fancy it's NVQ level three to lay out half a dozen traffic cones.

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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby BakfietsUK » 20 Sep 2017, 10:02am

Yes I often see the skeletal remains of cyclists still waiting for the sensor to acknowledge their existence. How long are you supposed to wait if you stop at a light that is never going to respond. Until a suitably ferrous object like a car roars right up your backside I spose. Sad and ironic, having to wait for a car to get some existential confirmation, still I guess those are the times we live in.

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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby [XAP]Bob » 20 Sep 2017, 10:11am

BakfietsUK wrote:Yes I often see the skeletal remains of cyclists still waiting for the sensor to acknowledge their existence. How long are you supposed to wait if you stop at a light that is never going to respond. Until a suitably ferrous object like a car roars right up your backside I spose. Sad and ironic, having to wait for a car to get some existential confirmation, still I guess those are the times we live in.


Unless you know the lights don't respond then I think 2 minutes is the 'standard' max cycle time..
Of course temporary lights can exceed this greatly. I recall a set in the USA that had a timetable declared on entry to the national park in question... Green 'nothbound' from the hour to twenty past, and southbound was from half past to ten to....
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby BakfietsUK » 20 Sep 2017, 10:55am

I like the "cycle time" pun [XAP]Bob. Two minutes is interesting I was not aware of that. Do you know where it is written. I love the USA and the pragmatic approach to procedure. We could really do with some of that.

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Spinners
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby Spinners » 20 Sep 2017, 11:16am

I didn't think he would but the council guy phoned me back this morning and explained that he'd looked into it but couldn't find any stipulated timings or average speeds that could be used to calculate timings for the lights to allow a cyclist to get from one end to the other. He did say that it's made him and his colleagues aware of this problem and was very sympathetic but whether this translates into actions, well we'll have to wait and see.

As to the two car drivers who came at me head on, well I hope it's a JCB next time :wink:
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