After years of lobbying for simple changes to traffic sign regulations, CTC is pleased that the Government has finally agreed to a relaxation of certain rules, such as permitting an ‘except cyclists’ plate to be used in conjunction with a ‘no entry’ sign. The changes should make streets safer and road engineering cheaper. The move comes as part of the outcome of the Traffic Signs Review announced by Norman Baker MP today.
Other proposals include a trial permitting cycling over zebra crossings, as well as an advanced green light phase for cyclists and the means to bypass standard traffic signals. There is no mention of the ‘turn left on red’ idea proposed by the Mayor of London.
Chris Peck, Policy Co-ordinator for CTC, said: “Local authorities will have the freedom to allow two-way cycling on quiet one-way streets with a simple sign change. This has long been common practice in Europe and is a safe, sensible approach to improving cycle access whilst reducing street clutter. The move to give greater local flexibility over signing may help make it easier for authorities to allow cycling where current regulations create a stumbling block.
“We look forward to local authorities trying out some of the innovative measures that CTC has been calling for, such as advanced signals, giving cyclists a head start in traffic and the use of zebra crossings by cyclists. Cycle use of zebras will mean local authorities can still give priority crossings for cyclists and pedestrians without needing expensive, unpopular toucan crossings.”
However, many of the changes require amendments to current regulations, which will only be finished in 2014. Until that time local authorities must still go through the time-consuming process of requesting special authorisation from the Department for Transport to use certain signs and markings.
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The written ministerial statement announcing the outcomes of the Traffic Signs Review is available on the Parliamentary website: www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-vote-office/10-DfT-trafficsignsreview.pdf . The ‘Signing the Way’ document is available here: www.dft.gov.uk/publications/signing-the-way .
The Department for Transport’s paper reports the following trials of ‘no entry except cyclists’ in London: “the number of motor vehicles which contravened the restrictions was halved and there was an increase in the number of cyclists using the contraflow schemes compared to the prescribed solution of using the ‘no motor vehicles’ traffic sign.”
Since 2008 it has been the law in France that all quiet one-way streets must be made two-way for cycling. In Paris, the number of streets permitted for two-way cycling increased from 40 kms to 240 kms in one year. All this was achieved by simply erecting an ‘except cycles’ plate with the no entry sign.
The announcement also confirms the move to enable 20 mph zones to be implemented more easily.
CTC’s briefing on contraflow cycling is available on CTC’s website: www.ctc.org.uk/resources/Campaigns/11_Contraflow_brf.pdf 
CTC’s original response to the consultation on changes to traffic signs from 2009 can be found here: www.ctc.org.uk/resources/Campaigns/0911_CTC_TSRGD2010_con.doc