TSRGD ... no wait, don't stop reading, it's important

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TSRGD ... no wait, don't stop reading, it's important

OK it's hard to imagine anything less interesting and important than the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions - but those are the rules (not the 'standards' or 'guidelines') that actually dictate what can and can't be done on our streets. So every time you wave a picture of a dutch-style roundabout at your local traffic engineer and he (it usually is a he) tells you it's very nice but it can't be done here, that's the TSRGD at work. The good news is, they are under review. The bad news is, the changes don't amount to much. Mark Treasure and our secret traffic engineer have laid out why the review is just fiddling at the edges here http://www.cycling-embassy.org.uk/news/2014/05/28/the-tsrgd-review-an-op... (with a link to a more detailed response). If you want to respond yourself - and the more who do so the better - then have a read. 

As Easy As Ridi...

From my perspective, the main issue here is a failure to ensure streets and roads are designed so that they are self-explanatory to users. The consultation fails in a number of respects here.

  • Their 'cycle streets' proposal basically amounts to sticking up signs and setting an arbitrary 15mph limit. That's not good enough. Cycle streets work through physical design, and measures to ensure that cycle traffic predominates (removing through traffic, and so on).
  • Signs that attempt to explain crap design ('Dismount', 'End of Route', shared use paths, and so on) remain in the TSRGD. There is no incentive to do things properly if these signs are still available. You can bodge away to your hearts content. 
  • 20mph limits. These need to be places where it is obvious you should be doing 20mph, not streets designed for higher speeds, but with signs and repeaters put up everywhere in an attempt to gain compliance. That's why we'd like to see certain measures tied to 20mph - removal of centre lines, yield markings, and (perhaps most importantly of all) low levels of motor traffic.

Things like this are important not just for 'cyclists' but also for pedestrians and drivers. Self-explaining streets would greatly reduce conflict and uncertainty between users, and reduce the need for enforcement.

ALSO it means that our streets could be cleared of a great deal of crap signage that attempts to tell people what they should be doing, when that should be obvious from the design of the street. That's tremendously important for a consultation that is supposedly concenred with 'de-cluttering'! But instead this review is probably going to add more clutter - 20mph repeaters and markings, signs telling people what they should be doing in cycle streets - as well as failing to remove all the existing crap like 'Dismount' and so on.

As Easy As Ridi...

The other issues are slightly more technical.

Signalised junctions. It's still ASLs, ASLs, ASLs. And in fact this consultation opens the door to ASLs being provided at a lower standard than at present, by removing the requirement for a 'lead-in' lane. ASLs can simply become inaccessible painted areas somewhere at the front of queues of motor traffic.  

We need ASLs to be thrown out, frankly, and replaced with separate signalisation, or simultaneous green, junctions. These are achievable, but the DfT needs to provide guidance on how to implement them (as well as allowing some minor changes to make them more comprehensible). At other junctions we should be moving to low traffic environments where signalisation isn't even necessary. 

The 'zebra' confusion

Like the 'toucan' crossing, the method employed here is simply to bodge cycling into a pedestrian-specific way of crossing the road. It's not good enough, and it could actually be quite dangerous, because drivers only have to give way to pedestrians on zebra crossings once the latter have stepped onto the crossing. The potential for this going disastrously wrong with faster-moving cyclists is obvious.

The other problem is that it ties markings that can be employed usefully for cycle-specific crossings (the 'elephants' footprints') to this particular form of zebra crossing.

We already have a way of giving cyclists priority across a road; what's needed is the flexibility to employ these markings in conjunction with, or in isolation from, zebra markings. But this consultation bundles it all up together, which is really quite unphelpful.

pete owens

The new rules on ASLs are excelent and clear up the inconsistencies that were there before. The former requirement to have a lead-in lane created two big problems:

1. It forced cyclists to overtake on the wrong side - leading to the left hook problem. (Note 1: this is not a problem the ASL itself, but of the lead-in lane)

2. It provided an excuse for highway engineers to not install them - or to cram in dangerously narrow cycle lanes.

Now they will have no excuse to fail to install them at every signal controlled junction, and cyclists will be able to enter them legally when overtaking on the correcty side, and without a lead in lane this creates more room to do so. Now, I realise that ASLs, by actually making conditions on the road objectively safer and more convenient are of more help to us existing cyclists, rather than to the potential cyclists that are the priority for most here. However, it seems a tad extreme to actively oppose measures that are of great benefit to cyclists.


Is there anything restricting what types of bollards can be used? Considering that many cycling injuries are caused by bollards.

There seems a limited range on the UK market http://www.bollardsdirect.co.uk/bollards/plastic-bollards but the sort that I have seen on in the continent seem quite good. 



They seem very visible and won't hurt if you hit them. Its good to have safe cycle permeability.


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