Bike Boxes – what are the rules?31 Dec 2020 | Andrew Middlehurst
Cycle boxes at traffic lights
I read a post recently on a London cycling forum in relation to some confusion surrounding the rules relating to advanced stop lines, or bike boxes, at traffic light controlled junctions. The cyclist who posted had asked whether buses and taxis were allowed to use them as they had seen so many being used.
After speaking with the other cyclists here at the office about their commutes, people feel like they are seeing every bike box they arrive at with a vehicle stopped in it. They are also seeing mopeds and motorbikes stopping in the bike box after filtering down the side of traffic.
So can cars, buses, vans, motorbikes and mopeds use the boxes? The answer is no but also yes in certain circumstances, so I thought I would put together a short blog post to provide an explainer and hopefully clear things up for fellow cyclists.
The official name for bike boxes is Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs). They are essentially two stop lines. The first stop line applies to all motorised traffic but not cyclists, and the second stop line applies to both cyclists and motorised traffic.
The ‘bike box’ is created by the space in between the stop lines and is often painted.
What are the rules for Advanced Stop Lines?
The Highway Code states that the boxes are there to allow bikes to be ‘positioned ahead of other traffic’. This makes sense, as we are vulnerable road users we should be afforded more time to be able to move off ahead of motorised traffic.
The Highway Code also mentions that both motorists and motorcyclists must stop at the first white line ahead of the box if the lights are Red or Amber. They are also required to leave the box free at other times, such as if they are in traffic and the junction is blocked.
Are there times when motorists are allowed to stop in the cycle box?
There are two specific occasions when a motorist is allowed to stop in the box, however they are intended to be exceptions as opposed to the norm.
- If a motorised vehicle has crossed the first white line on a green light, i.e. entered the box, and the traffic lights then turn red, they must stop before they cross the second white line i.e. before they leave the box.
- If the vehicle is so close to the first stop line when the lights turn amber or red that it would be unsafe for the motorist to stop ahead of the line then they are permitted to cross the line and stop before the second line.
Even with these exceptions, the motorist is still required to give a cyclist extra time and space to be able to move off ahead of them.
A motoring offence is only committed where the traffic lights are clearly on red and a motorist then crosses the first stop line and enters the box. The motorist can be given a fixed penalty fine and points on their licence.
Although there is a potential motoring offence here I can see that in practice the Police are likely to find it difficult to enforce the rule. An officer would need to see a motorist clearly drive into a bike box while a traffic light was on red and unless they are there on the spot it seems unlikely that they would be able to gather sufficient evidence for them to pull a driver over.
Contact us today
For a free initial conversation call 020 7485 8811
Email us Send us an email and we’ll get back to you
Related InsightsVIEW ALL
London cyclist struck by 4×4 receives settlement
Andrew Middlehurst, a lawyer in the specialist cycling injuries team at Osbornes Law, recently settled a claim for a cyclist...Read more
Injured London cyclist receives settlement and medical treatment
Cycling accident lawyer, Laura Swaine, recently settled a claim for an injured cyclist who sustained serious injuries to her wrist...Read more
Top 10 Major Highway Code Changes for Cyclists
New Highway Code rules for cyclists At the end of January 2022, the Highway Code was updated to make British roads...Read more
Settlement reached for cyclist client after insurers deny...
Personal Injury specialist, Laura Swaine, recently settled a cycling injury claim following the driver fleeing the accident site and refusing...Read more
Successfully settled claim for cyclist struck by London...
Andrew Middlehurst, a specialist cycling injury lawyer, has settled a claim for a cyclist who was struck by a black...Read more
What to do immediately after a cycling accident?
If you have been involved in a cycling accident, you may experience shock and disorientation at the scene. Depending on...Read more
The law around E-bikes and E-scooters explained
Why are electric bikes legal but not scooters? E-bikes and e-scooters are the new rides on the block. To many,...Read more
Claim Settled for £70,000
Andrew Middlehurst, specialist bicycle accident lawyer at Osbornes Law, has settled a claim for an injured cyclist in the region...Read more
Severe Brain Injury Caused By Cycling Accident
Our client was a successful businessman when he was knocked to the ground. He suffered various fractures and internal injuries....Read more
Cyclist Receives £6,000 For Neck And Back Injuries
Our client hit his bicycle brakes as he approached queuing traffic. As he was doing this he was passing a...Read more
Cycling Lane Accident Compensation Claim
Our client was riding in a cycling lane when the passenger door of a stationary car was suddenly opened into...Read more
Cycle Injury Claim Settled For £12,000
Our client was injured on an East London road when a car pulled out of a parked position into his...Read more
Seven-Figure Cycle Accident Claim Against Local Authority
Our client came off his bicycle whilst on a cycle path. This was after a large stone became lodged in...Read more
Seven-Figure Award For Spinal Cord Injury
Our client was thrown off his bicycle after being hit by a lorry. He suffered a severe spinal cord injury....Read more
East London Cyclist Receives £70,000 Compensation
We acted for Dom, a 40-year-old media executive, living in East London. He and his wife owned their own home;...Read more
Bicycle Accident Claim Against Uber Driver
A cyclist has been awarded £7,000 following a road accident in which she was knocked off her bike by an Uber...Read more
IT Worker Receives £40,000 Following Cycle Accident
An IT worker was hit whilst on his commute by a car turning right across his path while he was...Read more
Compensation For Bike Accident In Blackheath
A cyclist was travelling near to Blackheath in London on his way to work when he was involved in a...Read more
Cycling accident claim settled for £20,000
A music teacher was cycling in traffic on his way to work. A bus changed lanes and drove into the...Read more
Cyclist awarded £30,000 damages after bike accident
The cycling accident occurred when our client had been cycling along the main road when a van pulled straight out...Read more
Compensation of £335,000 for fatal London cycling accident claim
Newlywed Hungarian National was killed in a “hit and run” road accident. A speeding driver mowed down and killed the...Read more
Cyclist receives compensation after taxi driver causes accident
Blanca Diego, a bike accident solicitor in the Osbornes Personal Injury Department, settled a claim for a 30-year-old Spanish cyclist...Read more
Spanish cylist receives compensation for South London bike...
Blanca Diego, a bicycle accident solicitor in the Osbornes Personal Injury Team, settled a claim for a 25 year old Spanish...Read more
London Cyclist wins £100,000 compensation following crash
Andrew Middlehurst recently settled a case for a cyclist who injured his shoulder and wrist whilst cycling along a London...Read more