Advanced Stop Lines

Would you know what it is if you were to see one?

Advanced stop lines you often see at some traffic light stops, but these are of many causes for confusion among drivers and cyclists sharing the road.

Do we know what they are and what their purpose is? And should they be policed differently?
What are advanced stop lines and their purpose?
These can also be referred to as “bike boxes”, which are common in the UK, as they serve the purpose of giving cyclists a safe place to stop at busy crossings and allow them to be positioned ahead of other road users. Therefore, they have more time to pull off once the lights turn green.

Is it illegal to enter an advanced stop line?
It has been outlined by the law, that by entering the bike box when pulling up to a red light, you will receive three penalty points and a £100 fine.

Also, it states in rule 178 of the Highway Code: “Motorists, including motorcyclists, MUST stop at the first white line reached if the lights are amber or red and should avoid blocking the way or encroaching on the marked area at other times, e.g. if the junction ahead is blocked.

If your vehicle has proceeded over the first white line at the time that the signal goes red, you MUST stop at the second white line, even if your vehicle is in the marked area.

Allow cyclists time and space to move off when the green signal shows.”

Reasons for confusion:
  • Although the Highway Code states you must stop at the first white line, it offers an exception to the rule, stating if the lights were to change and the driver is forced to brake quickly, if it’s safer for motorists to stop in the box, rather than risk braking too suddenly.
  • Another exception is if a vehicle enters the box while the lights are on green but is unable to clear the area before they turn to red.

PC James Aveling, who has been a city bike patrol officer for more than 15 years, said: “Booking cars which enter the zone is tricky, as it’s not illegal if they stop in one if a light turns red and they’re part-way in. Officers thus have to watch a driver creep in on an already red light.”

At CarCliq, we feel that when you are approaching traffic lights it’s all about judgement of whether you know if you will or won’t get through those lights. If you’re approaching already green lights, we advise you slow down and as you can then anticipate if the lights do turn red, so you don’t enter the box.

For more CarCliq guides click here
To learn more about stopping distances, click here

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