Transport for London, the Met and London Police are stepping up enforcement of Advanced Stop Lines, commonly known as ‘bike boxes’. You can read a piece about how this is being done, on the TfL website, but here are some helpful points from the Met on the rules for ASLs.
Advanced Stop Lines (from met.police.uk website, )
Some signal-controlled junctions have Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs). ASLs help motorists and cyclists by providing an area for cyclists to wait in front of traffic when the lights are red. Cyclists in this area are more easily visible to motorists, and have space to move off when the lights turn green.
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.
Do not enter the ASL box when the light is red – this space is reserved for the safety of cyclists.
Crossing the first or second ASL line when the light is red makes you liable for a £100 fixed penalty, three points on your licence, and endangers vulnerable road users.
If the traffic light changes from green to amber and you cannot safely stop before the first stop line, you may cross the line but must stop before the second stop line (Highway Code rule 178).
Do not cross the second stop line while the traffic signal is red. Contravening a traffic signal is against the law, and could result in a £50 fine.
Myth: There’s a car in the ASL box – the driver must have committed an offence.
Not true. The offence is committed when the vehicle enters the ASL box when the light is red. If the vehicle enters the box and the light changes to red, no offence is committed
Rule 178 of the Highway Code states:
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.
We don’t want motorists to wrongly believe that they shouldn’t stop in the ASL box under any circumstances – this might cause someone to panic, drive through a junction and cause an accident.
Myth: Motorbikes are allowed in the ASL.
Not true. The law applies to motorbikes and scooters, too.
Myth: Entering an ASL is a specific offence.
Not true. Entering an ASL when the light is red is an offence under section 36(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1988, regulation 10 of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 and Schedule 2 to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. The offence is jumping a red light and could result in a £100 fixed penalty and three points on your licence.
Myth: Police don’t enforce ASLs.
Not true. The Cycle Task Force and our colleagues across the MPS regularly report and warn drivers for contravening this law and are supporting Transport for London’s ASL campaign. Any Police Constable (not a Police Community Support Officer) who witnesses an ASL offence taking place can enforce and must provide evidence that they witnessed:
◾ The front of the vehicle cross the stop line
◾ The moment the traffic lights changed
◾ The traffic lights were all working
If the officer sees the vehicle in the zone without witnessing all three of the above, then there is no prospect of prosecution against a burden of proof of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. In any case, the driver could simply have been obeying rule 178 of the Highway Code (see above).