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UK Cycle Paths and the Law

I was intrigued by this statement on Vole O’Speed blog article ‘”Understanding Walking and Cycling”, “deja vue”, and the history of Camden’s cycle tracks’…(my emphasis added):

The problem seems to be that there is actually, in UK law, no real concept of a cycle track on the road, Dutch-style. Cycle paths are conceived of as being away from roads, or on pavements. Cycle lanes are conceived of as being lanes painted on the road.

But the Royal College Street track is something different, a cycle track that is part of the road but physically separated from it. UK traffic law doesn’t seem to allow for this possibility, which is why there has always been argument between officials about the enforceability of priority at junctions with such tracks.

We still need the Department for Transport to sort this out and explicitly declare that cycle tracks should have priority over side roads at unsignalised junctions.

I wrote to my MP, Sir George Young, in January 2013 with reference to this paragraph and yesterday received a letter with a response from Norman Baker MP, Parliamentary Under secretary of State, Transport.

Mr Baker stated,

“The traffic signs regulations and general directions (TSRGD) include all the signs and road markings necessary to provide unambiguous priority for cyclists using the sort of cycle facility provided along Royal College Street, Camden.

If the junctions are marked to give priority to cyclists in accordance with the TSRGD, the ability to enforce these arrangements is not in question.”

He concluded,

“It is the responsibility of local highways authorities to determine how they provide for cyclists, and they are free to decide when and where priority should be provided.”

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