Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

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Tangled Metal
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby Tangled Metal » 27 Sep 2017, 4:05pm

There's a similar timing issue that's being raised as an issue. That is the historic speed of a person crossing a road at pedestrian lights. Currently all planners use 1.2mph without even knowing where it came from or if it's valid. As a result to cross a single carriageway road that leaves you with 5 seconds once the green man starts to flash. The elderly and infirm are struggling to cross in time resulting in danger to them.

The actual origins of this crossing speed is a single postgraduate from America in the 50s IIRC. He timed a lot of different people crossing and came up with this speed. It didn't become the gold standard for crossing standards in the USA but in the 1950s the DfT (or whatever it was called back then) took it on when they introduced these lights. It was standardized and since then subsequent generations of planners used it without questioning it. Even more modern research along similar lines disagree with it. Seems the result of that original n study was not replicated in more modern research.

A bit of a digression but timings of lights are a very important consideration. Get it wrong and you have a potential for accidents. There's never an easy way to get traffic control light timings changed if they aren't right. It'll involve contacting contractors, traffic control sub - contractors, councils, etc. That's never going to be a quick resolution. That is why as cyclists at need guidance as to what is the best course of action. At the moment I don't think cyclecraft gives advise on this. Perhaps this forum would be good if a consensus appeared on this thread. I opt for using cars as a backup like I suggested.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby Tangled Metal » 27 Sep 2017, 4:23pm

So if that's right then he has no objection to taking primary through the lights while holding up cars behind you. It's just the timing issue he has.

I'm not sure that's true of I have read his comments earlier on. I'm certain he made a comment or two about not agreeing with holding traffic up through the lights. The timing I can understand but disagree with. I don't see how you can safely and legally proceed without using the primary placement to create a safe passage.

Regarding timing is concerned, moving to the front of a queue is legal and advised in many situations concerning traffic lights. Sitting in primary within a traffic queue isn't a place most motorists expect to see cyclists. Also once you reach the front and pass through the lights you have much less time to get through. If I had done that in my instance I'd not be in the last quarter or less of the traffic control but still before halfway. I would even worry that the oncoming cars might not see this traveling road block.

The solution is to sit out the side of the road losing the primary position then try and take it back at the start of v the next green cycle. I'm sorry but once out of primary you can only get it back once moving. In the traffic control case I had you might be overtaken by all the cars behind you before you can get primary back.

This is not a clear argument. The only guaranteed solution in the case I experienced was to move to the front of queued traffic and take primary.

Of course a better solution in all but the one version of the roadworks traffic control I experienced was to speed up. I got a lot faster through those lights. Of course in my case initially the traffic control was fixed in one place but later on moved up and down the road. In a different place almost every day or journey for the last few weeks. Each change in location you had to work out quickly whether the cycle has been set long enough. There's no good solution to this variability IMHO.

danhopgood
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby danhopgood » 27 Sep 2017, 4:59pm

More information on the legal side of temporary traffic signals at roadworks.

The national standard required by most if not all local authorities, who's approval is required to use temporary signals is the document "Safety at Streetworks - a Code of Practice". That contains the requirement that in proposing a temporary traffic light system contractors "MUST take account of the needs of cyclists and vulnerable road users" which I read to include having enough "all red" timing to allow cyclists to pass through safely if there's not enough width for cyclists to be passed safely in the roadworks. That document references another one "TAL 15/99 Cyclists at Road Works" which is a bit vague but does give more guidance on lane widths - encouraging as wide a lane width as possible to be provided - presumably to allow overtaking of cyclists within the restricted section. An interesting paragraph at the end of that document reads :

" Where access is permitted for motor vehicles, "Cyclist Dismount" signs should not be used. The hazards to cyclists at roadworks are rarely great enough to justify this measure. In any case, cyclists are likely to ignore such instructions. The only situation where cyclists should be advised to dismount is where the carriageway is closed off but the footway remains open. In such cases a white-on-red temporary sign "CYCLISTS DISMOUNT AND USE FOOTWAY" may be used. "

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mjr
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby mjr » 27 Sep 2017, 5:24pm

Tangled Metal wrote:There's a similar timing issue that's being raised as an issue. That is the historic speed of a person crossing a road at pedestrian lights. Currently all planners use 1.2mph without even knowing where it came from or if it's valid. As a result to cross a single carriageway road that leaves you with 5 seconds once the green man starts to flash. The elderly and infirm are struggling to cross in time resulting in danger to them.

1.2mph? Green man timings in https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/s ... ssings.pdf seem to work out as about 4mph.

However, new light-controlled crossings now are meant to be PUFIn with infra-red detectors keeping the carriageway lights red until people actually get across and those detectors should be calibrated for walkers, so will work for cyclists at crossings they're allowed to use. The problem is that the detectors used at temporary traffic lights to make sure that vehicles have cleared the tidal section aren't commonly calibrated to spot cyclists, only motorists, so they don't hold the conflicting traffic long enough.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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meic
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby meic » 27 Sep 2017, 7:21pm

Tangled Metal wrote:Sorry but what's the problem? Move to the front of the traffic queue waiting on red then take the primary position so no car can pass. Simple pootle through with the combined mass of all the cars and vans stuck behind you. If the lights turn green before getting through then any car setting off will not get past so most likely they'll wait. If they don't then two opposing streams of traffic create a blockage and standstill. You must ride past the traffic blockage and happy days.

BTW I've done that have didn't get any punishment close passes or many horns going off. Used to do it all the time when they were building the heysham link road. The contractors worked out the issue and we got longer green light periods. Try it, it works!

Now there may be a way where this is compatible with
I don't pass the traffic lights, stop sign or mythical stop line.

but I imagine it isnt often.
If there are many vehicles in the queue I even let some overtake before setting off. If there are only a few I don't.
Now that is far more considerate behaviour.

I have actually already said how I deal with temporary traffic lights. If you read my posts it is all there. The only confusion arrives when you read other peoples' posts that misrepresent what I have said and add bits that I never did say. A prominent example is riding primary. I have never suggested NOT riding primary, I actually said to ride primary and I have pointed this out when people said that I was criticising riding in primary. Even when I point out that I am not criticising riding in primary, I do ride through temporary lights in primary and I would recommend others to do so to if the road isnt nice and wide, I bet it still wont put an end to the attempts to stuff the same false words into my mouth.
Though just maybe a paragraph this long and emphatic might just manage it. :mrgreen:
Yma o Hyd

Tangled Metal
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby Tangled Metal » 27 Sep 2017, 8:51pm

mjr wrote:
Tangled Metal wrote:There's a similar timing issue that's being raised as an issue. That is the historic speed of a person crossing a road at pedestrian lights. Currently all planners use 1.2mph without even knowing where it came from or if it's valid. As a result to cross a single carriageway road that leaves you with 5 seconds once the green man starts to flash. The elderly and infirm are struggling to cross in time resulting in danger to them.

1.2mph? Green man timings in https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/s ... ssings.pdf seem to work out as about 4mph.

However, new light-controlled crossings now are meant to be PUFIn with infra-red detectors keeping the carriageway lights red until people actually get across and those detectors should be calibrated for walkers, so will work for cyclists at crossings they're allowed to use. The problem is that the detectors used at temporary traffic lights to make sure that vehicles have cleared the tidal section aren't commonly calibrated to spot cyclists, only motorists, so they don't hold the conflicting traffic long enough.

That speed came from a radio 4 piece about an awareness of the crossings not giving elderly enough time. It does appear to be wrong from that document. I did notice it was for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland but no mention of England. I wonder if England has a different timing regime.

mattsccm
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby mattsccm » 27 Sep 2017, 9:14pm

On page 5 someone asks for information on being safe and legal. Sorry, but they are often mutually exclusive.
I treat most lights the same way be I cycling or motorcycling. Unless I am dead certain that the road ahead is perfect for overtaking by following vehicles the only way past is literally over my dead body. Not happened yet! Be obstructive without being obvious. Wobble a bit. And if all elsre fails. Stop. There are situations where one must be assertive. This is one of them.

MikeF
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby MikeF » 28 Sep 2017, 8:45am

danhopgood wrote:white-on-red temporary sign "CYCLISTS DISMOUNT AND USE FOOTWAY" may be used. "
:o I've never seen one of those anywhere.
I've found traffic lights respond to me on a cycle either by radar or the underground sensor(s). If there're just underground sensors I make sure I stop over one. I'm normally on a steel framed bike, but I think they work for my aluminium framed one as well.

Edit to add Maybe they don't work for carbon frames?
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master

BakfietsUK
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby BakfietsUK » 28 Sep 2017, 9:07am

Legal is safe, perhaps mattsccm and you do seem to imply that it is not always the case. So what about the things that are unsafe but still legal? One aspect of this discussion is in my view debating the relationship between safety and legality. Getting through TTL's by bike does perhaps invite some stretching of the legal boundaries concerning obstruction. The point for me is that many posts here are concerned with challenging "legal" driving practices that are dangerous for cyclists and other vulnerable road users. Consider the law on mobile phones and that a few years ago there was no specific offence, yet we all accept now that it is dangerous. Hence it is now illegal to use a phone at the wheel. Driving at close proximity to a cyclist is not necessarily illegal, but it is dangerous. Can we be certain that the same logic and public opinion will cause a change in the law that creates a specific offence of say "driving too close to another vehicle". If you try and prosecute this right now I would imagine a charge of reckless driving would have to be applied. I would suggest that this would be so difficult to prove that it could never be levied and justice would not be served.

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meic
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby meic » 28 Sep 2017, 9:22am

I think that ending "driving too close to another vehicle" would make the single biggest improvement to road safety that any one measure could. As speeding has already been curbed to an extent.
The danger to the vehicle being tailgated is pretty apparent but not always that great because both vehicles start off at roughly the same speed, so the impact speed will always be limited by this fact.

What is the real problem is that the tailgater can not see properly or react in time.
They are also in the habit of following the car in front regardless and when the vehicle in front sees a chance that they can only just squeeze through themselves, the tailgater doesnt manage.

This is a common problem with cars tailgating HGV's on my narrow lanes, you have to ride out to make the HGV move out so much itself, that the car who can see nothing but the graffiti in the dust on the back of it realises they are overtaking something and pull out with it. (Not so good for the oncoming cars though :roll: ).
It also means that cyclists daring to ride on dual carriageways can not be reacted to quickly by any drivers when boxed in by others motors.
Yma o Hyd

Ruadh495
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby Ruadh495 » 28 Sep 2017, 9:44am

Sounds like we need to be campaigning for some kind of cycle bypass lane to be incorporated into temporary traffic lights. IMO filtering to the front just shifts the problem back in the queue. You take primary, as you should, so the whole queue is held at your speed, not only through the lights but for some distance the other side since the queue waiting in the opposite direction prevents overtaking. This means that some of the traffic behind you is not going to clear the lights. The only plus with this is that motorists are less likely to set off on green (or red and amber as they quite often do) if the way is blocked by another motor vehicle. Road rage becomes a problem.

I'd be inclined to get off and walk, there will be pedestrian provision and you rejoin with your direction on red, so that's easy. That has to be the safest way to deal with the situation, but we shouldn't have to do that. Or should we?

Is the pedestrian speed for crossings really 1.2mph BTW? I think there's a standard time, rather than a speed, which means you have to jog to cross some wide crossings in the time allowed.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby Tangled Metal » 28 Sep 2017, 10:46am

This post was regarding a temporary traffic lights which were set with insufficient time for cyclists to get through. If you overtake stationary cars and take the primary nobody will get through the lights on green. It's not an issue if the lights had been set up correctly with enough time to allow all users to pass through. This is a requirement but the very fact it doesn't always happen means alternative solutions are needed.

I'm not normally the kind of person who argues that my progress must not be delayed but in such an instance (of negligence IMHO on the part of the operators of the lights) I believe it is justified. In many other cases in quite happy to get off and walk around. I've done it many a time.

In this situation, which I've posted about my experiences of this, I act as a self righteous motorist whilst on my bike. By this I mean I have a right to be here and to be safe, so I'll make sure both happens. If others don't like it I don't care because I'm not doing anything illegal just assertive.

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mjr
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby mjr » 28 Sep 2017, 12:04pm

Tangled Metal wrote:This post was regarding a temporary traffic lights which were set with insufficient time for cyclists to get through. If you overtake stationary cars and take the primary nobody will get through the lights on green. It's not an issue if the lights had been set up correctly with enough time to allow all users to pass through. This is a requirement but the very fact it doesn't always happen means alternative solutions are needed.

I think I've posted this before but maybe not: long tidal-flow traffic lights now are not normally set with specific times (which is an error-prone decision, especially if the road is used by slow things like farm vehicles) and instead they use detectors pointed at the tidal-flow section to decide when vehicles have all passed. It's a bit like the puffin crossings but for cars. These detectors are routinely not calibrated to spot cyclists (especially if pointing towards low sun), but if you can keep the cars behind you then the control system should hold the oncoming lights on red until all the cars have exited.
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BakfietsUK
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby BakfietsUK » 28 Sep 2017, 7:37pm

I wonder how fast we'd be prepared to accept cars driving through road works governed by TTL if they weren't limited by all us lawless cyclists who dare to be assertive. There seems to be an unwritten rule on UK roads that says woe betide you if you ever slow down a car from going at the speed it's driver desires, however ludicrous and inappropriate the speed. Your getting in the way of the serious people who are driving, old son, get off OUR roads and leave us alone. Like bikes are somehow diminished in importance and obstruct people who are REALLY in a hurry. It's just like the flawed thinking on pedestrian crossing times. Change the outlook, look from the other direction I.e. start with the idea that non pollutionists are the ones who have the intrinsic value, not the one's who are doing the damage.

danhopgood
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Re: Temporary Traffic Lights and Cyclists

Postby danhopgood » 29 Sep 2017, 1:06pm

There is of course Rule 169 of the Highway Code:

"Do not hold up a long queue of traffic, especially if you are driving a large or slow-moving vehicle. Check your mirrors frequently, and if necessary, pull in where it is safe and let traffic pass."

I don't think the delay caused by cyclists in a TTL situation would qualify for cyclists stopping, but there are circumstances I can think of where a cyclist could hold up the traffic enough for them to need to get off and let the traffic past. Faster traffic does quite rightly in my view have the expectation to make good progress, but I also consider they need to be obeying all the other requirements in the Highway Code too, which requires compliant behaviour from them too.