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ASLs are a danger

alan_shermanalan_sherman Posts: 1,157
edited November 2013 in Commuting chat
I don't like a lot of the cycling infrastructure we have in the UK. But the Advanced Stop Line boxes I think as a real problem. The police are currently doing the lorry visibility roadshow outside work and the danger box they put down in front of the lorry is exactly the shape of an ASL.


So my list of why I think they are a danger:

Cyclists in ASLs can be in the blind spot of an HGV.
The 'legal' route into an ASL is up the near side of cars - puts the cyclist into the 'left hook' danger zone.
Cyclists can think that they 'have' to use the ASL so will push forward into it even when it is dangerous to do so. Particular examples are:
- When the box is full
- When a box is obsured by a car waiting in it (which can be legally there)
- When the lights are about to change and traffic is about to move off
- When a vehicle is too close to the kerb - cyclists pushing through too small a gap
- when a road is narrow and by using the ASL a cyclist puts themselves infront of a vehicle that wants to go faster, but is held up by the slower cyclist.


I did a motorcycle police bikesafe course many years ago and got a good bit of advice. They pointed out that if you filter up to the front of a queue there are the dangers of teh lights changing just as you are in the 'hit zone'. Also when you are at the front you are pressured to be riding the clutch ready to ride off quickly. All in all quite dangerous and stressful. However an alternative approach is to filter up to the back of the front car. And wait there. The light change won't catch you out. You don't need to sit there in gear with the clutch held in. You can accelerate away pretty leisurely, and on two wheels you'll be past the vehicle in front at the next bit of traffic or clear road.


Thoughts from the BR hive mind? Should ASLs be banned or do you think they a good thing?

Posts

  • I'd say they are a good thing.

    Of course, you need to use some common sense filtering to get there and bear in mind the lack of visibility directly in front of HGVs

    Main problem in London is they are generally full with everything except bikes.

    Combine them with some enforcement and, ideally, advance lights for cyclists to move before other traffic, and IMO they could be an excellent thing.
  • I think they only really make sense with the addition of cyclist-only advance lights. For the majority of cyclists, they are mainly an invitation to take risks and annoy others. I would consider it better practice at many lights to take the lane and wait rather than filtering to the front - at many junctions, once vehicles are queued up there isn't enough space to filter safely.

    That said, I of course like them because in normal circumstances they allow me to the front of the queue and to be able to get away quickly (by my standards!) when the light goes green. But I occasionally take risks in getting there - minor risks, but risks nonetheless.
  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,132
    I don't like a lot of the cycling infrastructure we have in the UK. But the Advanced Stop Line boxes I think as a real problem. The police are currently doing the lorry visibility roadshow outside work and the danger box they put down in front of the lorry is exactly the shape of an ASL.


    So my list of why I think they are a danger:

    Cyclists in ASLs can be in the blind spot of an HGV. MAKE SURE YOU AREN'T - IF THAT MEANS GETTING AHEAD OF THE ASL SO BE IT.
    The 'legal' route into an ASL is up the near side of cars - puts the cyclist into the 'left hook' danger zone. SO TAKE THE ILLEGAL ROUTE, ASSUMING ITS SAFE TO DO SO.
    Cyclists can think that they 'have' to use the ASL so will push forward into it even when it is dangerous to do so. JUST DON'T.Particular examples are:
    - When the box is full POLICE NEES TO ENFORCE BETTER.
    - When a box is obsured by a car waiting in it (which can be legally there) POLICE NEED TO ENFORCE BETTER - USUALLY NO "LEGAL" REASON FOR VEHICLES BEING THERE.
    - When the lights are about to change and traffic is about to move off ALWAYS HAVE AN ESCAPE ROUTE.
    - When a vehicle is too close to the kerb - cyclists pushing through too small a gap AGAIN, DON'T DO IT.
    - when a road is narrow and by using the ASL a cyclist puts themselves infront of a vehicle that wants to go faster, but is held up by the slower cyclist. THEY CAN WAIT.


    I did a motorcycle police bikesafe course many years ago and got a good bit of advice. They pointed out that if you filter up to the front of a queue there are the dangers of teh lights changing just as you are in the 'hit zone'. SAME AS FOR BIKES, YOU SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE AN ESCAPE ROUTE / ANTICIPATE THE LIGHTS CHANGING. Also when you are at the front you are pressured to be riding the clutch ready to ride off quickly. All in all quite dangerous and stressful. However an alternative approach is to filter up to the back of the front car. WHAT IF THERE ISN'T A GAP? SURELY THE POLICE WEREN'T SUGGESTING THAT YOU BE ONE OF THOSE IRRITATING MOTORBIKES THAT BLOCKS UP THE FILTERING SPACES? And wait there. The light change won't catch you out. You don't need to sit there in gear with the clutch held in. You can accelerate away pretty leisurely, and on two wheels you'll be past the vehicle in front at the next bit of traffic or clear road. IN MOST CASES THE VEHICLE WILL BE TRAVELLING AT THE SPEED LIMIT, NOT SUGGESTING A MOTORBIKE WOULD OVERTAKE ARE YOU?


    Thoughts from the BR hive mind? Should ASLs be banned or do you think they a good thing?


    Comments above - common sense deals with most issues, a bit of enforcement would deal with the rest.
  • hooliohoolio Posts: 139
    edited October 2013
    Problem isn't the ASL, it's the way they are/could be used.
    As above post, a bit of good sense and judgement is all that's needed.

    I did the bikesafe course a few weeks ago and they still give the same advice about stopping one car back. It was the only thing that I disagreed with (although I didn't voice my disagreement). If you're on dual lanes and you filter up the middle and stop one car back you're then in the centre of four cars. If the the cars immediately behind you tailgate the ones in front as you all pull away and the road narrows (or the twts close the gap on you) where do you go? Start braking and then try to choose a lane? No thanks. I'll go to the front if it's clear and pull away smartly. Once in a while you'll get some idiot try to race you, but that isn't exactly difficult to deal with on a motorbike.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    hoolio wrote:
    Problem isn't the ASL, it's the way they are/could be used.
    More to the point, plenty of riders will do most of these things regardless of whether or not there is an ASL. The ASL at least gives them somewhere to sit when they have filtered (safely or otherwise) to the front. IIRC, one of the main reasons they were introduced was to stop cyclists filtering to the front and then stopping alongside the vehicle at the front of the queue, and in this respect I think they have been reasonably successful. Sure, it can be dangerous to stop in front of an HGV, but it's even more dangerous to stop alongside it, and a lot less people do that than in the past...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • keyser__sozekeyser__soze Posts: 2,066
    However an alternative approach is to filter up to the back of the front car. And wait there

    I often do this on my bicycle, particularly when I know there's no ASL or the ASL is blocked as is often the case along the Highway. The driver of the car at the front thinks they're at the front of the queue and won't necessarily notice a cyclist filtering up alongside/past them, whereas the driver of the car one back knows there's a vehicle ahead of him and they'll have to wait for it to move before moving off themselves. There's invariably a large enough gap to take a primary position between the two and I'm fast enough away not to hold up the car behind while moving over to secondary so they can pass. A lot of cyclists seem to suffer from the 'must get to the front no matter what' mindset which can often be counter-productive.
    "Mummy Mummy, when will I grow up?"
    "Don't be silly son, you're a bloke, you'll never grow up"
  • nichnich Posts: 888
    I don't think ASL's are dangerous, the people using them might lack some sense which might put them in danger though, but you can't easily fix that :p
  • ToeKneeToeKnee Posts: 376
    However an alternative approach is to filter up to the back of the front car. And wait there

    I often do this on my bicycle, particularly when I know there's no ASL or the ASL is blocked as is often the case along the Highway. The driver of the car at the front thinks they're at the front of the queue and won't necessarily notice a cyclist filtering up alongside/past them, whereas the driver of the car one back knows there's a vehicle ahead of him and they'll have to wait for it to move before moving off themselves. There's invariably a large enough gap to take a primary position between the two and I'm fast enough away not to hold up the car behind while moving over to secondary so they can pass. A lot of cyclists seem to suffer from the 'must get to the front no matter what' mindset which can often be counter-productive.
    ^^++1++
    Seneca wrote:
    It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.
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  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,132
    ToeKnee wrote:
    However an alternative approach is to filter up to the back of the front car. And wait there

    I often do this on my bicycle, particularly when I know there's no ASL or the ASL is blocked as is often the case along the Highway. The driver of the car at the front thinks they're at the front of the queue and won't necessarily notice a cyclist filtering up alongside/past them, whereas the driver of the car one back knows there's a vehicle ahead of him and they'll have to wait for it to move before moving off themselves. There's invariably a large enough gap to take a primary position between the two and I'm fast enough away not to hold up the car behind while moving over to secondary so they can pass. A lot of cyclists seem to suffer from the 'must get to the front no matter what' mindset which can often be counter-productive.
    ^^++1++

    This makes very little sense to me. If you're quick enough to get away from the car behind you, what does it matter what is in front of you? Obviously if there is no room to go to the front of the queue then don't, but if there is then the only differnce stopping behind the lead car will make is that you'll be breathing in a load more fumes.
  • monkimarkmonkimark Posts: 950
    Cycling in London I'm often riding in a bike lane alongside stationary traffic so taking the lane isn't really an option - I'm going to end up alongside a car unless i get to the asl.
    It requires a bit of thought passing the last few cars if there's a left turn option at the lights but I don't see how removing the ASL would make it safer.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    I just don't filter - I wait in line in primary.
  • SouthgateSouthgate Posts: 246
    supersonic wrote:
    I just don't filter - I wait in line in primary.

    Try doing that in central London during rush hour and you will double your commute time, thus at a stroke removing the main incentive to cycle to work!
    Superstition begins with pinning race number 13 upside down and it ends with the brutal slaughter of Mamils at the cake stop.
  • wgwarburtonwgwarburton Posts: 1,863
    Main benefit of ASLs is that they highlight the presence of cyclists and that said cyclists are deserving of road-space.

    Better awareness = safer cyclists

    Cheers,
    W.
  • monkimarkmonkimark Posts: 950
    supersonic wrote:
    I just don't filter - I wait in line in primary.

    I'd barely get out of the house if I did that in south London, may as well drive if I'm going to queue.
    I guess your commute is a bit less busy.
  • dondaredondare Posts: 2,113
    The feeder lane, which is the only way to enter them legally when the lights are red, is in the death zone. An improvement would be to allow cyclists to enter the box from any direction. (Which they do anyway.)
    They're no use at all unless motor vehicles respect them and that includes PTWs. (Which they don't.)
    Personally I'd be quite happy if they were all got rid of, along with all the other dangerous, unusable or irelevent cycling facilities.
    This post contains traces of nuts.
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    BigMat wrote:
    ToeKnee wrote:
    However an alternative approach is to filter up to the back of the front car. And wait there

    I often do this on my bicycle, particularly when I know there's no ASL or the ASL is blocked as is often the case along the Highway. The driver of the car at the front thinks they're at the front of the queue and won't necessarily notice a cyclist filtering up alongside/past them, whereas the driver of the car one back knows there's a vehicle ahead of him and they'll have to wait for it to move before moving off themselves. There's invariably a large enough gap to take a primary position between the two and I'm fast enough away not to hold up the car behind while moving over to secondary so they can pass. A lot of cyclists seem to suffer from the 'must get to the front no matter what' mindset which can often be counter-productive.
    ^^++1++

    This makes very little sense to me. If you're quick enough to get away from the car behind you, what does it matter what is in front of you? Obviously if there is no room to go to the front of the queue then don't, but if there is then the only differnce stopping behind the lead car will make is that you'll be breathing in a load more fumes.


    What Keyser__Soze said, I don't think he was saying he was getting away from the cars but quick enough through said junction to stay with the car in front and move over when clear.

    Out of town, I don't see the point in always sitting on the front to get re-overtaken seconds later, surely less cars overtaking = safer and less aimlessly angry drivers.
  • notsobluenotsoblue Posts: 5,838
    Main benefit of ASLs is that they highlight the presence of cyclists and that said cyclists are deserving of road-space.

    Better awareness = safer cyclists

    Cheers,
    W.
    Totally agree. The biggest problem with cycling in the UK is the sentiment shared by many many drivers that cyclists simply do not belong on the road. ASLs at least go a little way to counter that.
  • tilttilt Posts: 214
    supersonic wrote:
    I just don't filter - I wait in line in primary.

    +1
  • Paulie WPaulie W Posts: 1,492
    BigMat wrote:
    I don't like a lot of the cycling infrastructure we have in the UK. But the Advanced Stop Line boxes I think as a real problem. The police are currently doing the lorry visibility roadshow outside work and the danger box they put down in front of the lorry is exactly the shape of an ASL.


    So my list of why I think they are a danger:

    Cyclists in ASLs can be in the blind spot of an HGV. MAKE SURE YOU AREN'T - IF THAT MEANS GETTING AHEAD OF THE ASL SO BE IT.
    The 'legal' route into an ASL is up the near side of cars - puts the cyclist into the 'left hook' danger zone. SO TAKE THE ILLEGAL ROUTE, ASSUMING ITS SAFE TO DO SO.
    Cyclists can think that they 'have' to use the ASL so will push forward into it even when it is dangerous to do so. JUST DON'T.Particular examples are:
    - When the box is full POLICE NEES TO ENFORCE BETTER.
    - When a box is obsured by a car waiting in it (which can be legally there) POLICE NEED TO ENFORCE BETTER - USUALLY NO "LEGAL" REASON FOR VEHICLES BEING THERE.
    - When the lights are about to change and traffic is about to move off ALWAYS HAVE AN ESCAPE ROUTE.
    - When a vehicle is too close to the kerb - cyclists pushing through too small a gap AGAIN, DON'T DO IT.
    - when a road is narrow and by using the ASL a cyclist puts themselves infront of a vehicle that wants to go faster, but is held up by the slower cyclist. THEY CAN WAIT.


    I did a motorcycle police bikesafe course many years ago and got a good bit of advice. They pointed out that if you filter up to the front of a queue there are the dangers of teh lights changing just as you are in the 'hit zone'. SAME AS FOR BIKES, YOU SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE AN ESCAPE ROUTE / ANTICIPATE THE LIGHTS CHANGING. Also when you are at the front you are pressured to be riding the clutch ready to ride off quickly. All in all quite dangerous and stressful. However an alternative approach is to filter up to the back of the front car. WHAT IF THERE ISN'T A GAP? SURELY THE POLICE WEREN'T SUGGESTING THAT YOU BE ONE OF THOSE IRRITATING MOTORBIKES THAT BLOCKS UP THE FILTERING SPACES? And wait there. The light change won't catch you out. You don't need to sit there in gear with the clutch held in. You can accelerate away pretty leisurely, and on two wheels you'll be past the vehicle in front at the next bit of traffic or clear road. IN MOST CASES THE VEHICLE WILL BE TRAVELLING AT THE SPEED LIMIT, NOT SUGGESTING A MOTORBIKE WOULD OVERTAKE ARE YOU?


    Thoughts from the BR hive mind? Should ASLs be banned or do you think they a good thing?


    Comments above - common sense deals with most issues, a bit of enforcement would deal with the rest.

    Isnt this kind of missing the point? Clearly there are ways of mitigating the risks that an ASL (and misuse of an ASL) may create but surely the point is that as a piece of cycling infrastructure it shouldnt be encouraging behaviours that are risky. If they were policed more effectively most of these risks would disappear but there is still the reality that some cyclists feel it is their duty to get into the ASL come what may (but maybe they'd be hell bent on getting to the front of the queue regardless).
  • The problem with ASL's is in implication. Which is poorly done and cack handed legal framework. Ie not enought thought went in to them.
  • menthelmenthel Posts: 2,484
    I think invoking Wheaton's Law is probably a good way to treat ASL's. Don't be a censored . Be considerate to yourself and others (peds, cyclists, motorists). If it is not safe to get to it or be in it then don't be. Hang back somewhere safe. Take a lane if necessary. Remember that your journey speed/time is not the be all and end all.

    Don't cross the white line at the front of the ASL either, this is illegal and can land you with a fine. The police are at least intermittently fining both cyclists and motorists along CS7 whom find themselves on the wrong side of the line.
    RIP commute...
    Sometimes seen bimbling around on a purple Fratello Disc or black and red Aprire Vincenza.
  • alan_shermanalan_sherman Posts: 1,157
    Part of my argument is that for a piece of infrastructure that is supposed to make cycling safer, it doesn't. I'm all for personal responsibility (i.e. don't be a d!ck). However the presence of these things I believe encourages poor behaviour. I wonder how many of the central London commuters have any idea what the experience of other road users is (so unwittingly put themselves in danger).

    For those that disgree with the advice about stopping behind the front car. Try it a few times, it can make commuting much more relaxing.
  • dondaredondare Posts: 2,113
    I'll wait behind cars when they make them with exhaust pipes that point forward.
    The points being made here is that for cyclists who know what they're doing, understand how to position themselves safely and are prepared to break the law in order to stay safe, ASLs work as long as the law is obeyed by all motorists.
    To put it another way; they're a waste of paint.
    This post contains traces of nuts.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Part of my argument is that for a piece of infrastructure that is supposed to make cycling safer, it doesn't. I'm all for personal responsibility (i.e. don't be a d!ck). However the presence of these things I believe encourages poor behaviour.
    I strongly disagree with this assertion, I don't think the poor behaviour is encouraged by the ASL at all, you see it just as much at junctions where there is no ASL. For instance there's one set of lights on my commute with no ASL (at the "kink on New King's Road, for SW Londoners) where large numbers of cyclists filter to the front and then sit in front of the cars, blocking the pedestrian crossing and even sitting in the middle of the junction, conflicting with traffic which is going a different way. Providing an ASL merely acknowledges that this behaviour is going to take place regardless, and tries to reduce the impact.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • tilttilt Posts: 214
    dondare wrote:
    I'll wait behind cars when they make them with exhaust pipes that point forward.

    Wouldn't you just get the fumes from the one behind you? :wink:
  • dondaredondare Posts: 2,113
    tilt wrote:
    dondare wrote:
    I'll wait behind cars when they make them with exhaust pipes that point forward.

    Wouldn't you just get the fumes from the one behind you? :wink:

    If I can't see it I don't care.
    This post contains traces of nuts.
  • keyser__sozekeyser__soze Posts: 2,066
    BigMat wrote:
    This makes very little sense to me. If you're quick enough to get away from the car behind you, what does it matter what is in front of you? Obviously if there is no room to go to the front of the queue then don't, but if there is then the only differnce stopping behind the lead car will make is that you'll be breathing in a load more fumes.

    I'm not saying I'm quick enough to pull away from any car/bike (after all plenty of idiots think they're on a Grand Prix grid at traffic lights), rather I'm quick enough to be confident taking primary between front car and car behind and still be able to pull away fast enough not to significantly impede the car behind and entice a dangerously close pass - others may not be confident enough to do this. Also it's not easy to always see if there is room at the front or if there's time to move to a primary position after passing the lead vehicle if you don't know the phasing of the lights - worst place to be is stuck on the inside, particularly with the number of phantom indicators. Given the slight lag with each car moving off plus the gaps between them it's a lot easier to pull into primary when one or two back when the lights turn green than it is right at the front.
    "Mummy Mummy, when will I grow up?"
    "Don't be silly son, you're a bloke, you'll never grow up"
  • kurakokurako Posts: 1,098
    I'm another one in the ASLs are a bit censored . Yes in an ideal world it is safer because you can get to the front and can be seen. Where it falls down is when you can't get to the front and end up wobbling around in the death zone or perhaps the driver hasn't seen you or perhaps they are drunk or just don't give a censored .

    What it boils down to is the only actions you have control over are your own so best not to rely on 'he should do x' or 'he shouldn't do y' when it comes down to personal safety. You need to anticipate hazards and avoid or at least minimise them where possible.
  • I think the boxes are useful: it provides you the right to go ahead of the vehicle traffic.
    Light's without them makes me feel that I shouldn't be there as I'll slow the flow down.
    Light's with them makes me feel that I should or can be there and I have the right to do so: it's there for us.
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