- There is a lot of confusion around the law surrounding Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs). We have put together a myth busting document to help motorists and cyclists understand what they can and can't do.
Advanced Stop Lines
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 fine, three penalty 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 most 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 however 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 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 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.
For an ASL box to be enforced any Police Constable (not a PCSO) who witnesses an ASL offence taking place they 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
Also that the ASL box:
- Conforms to Traffic Signs and General Direction (2002)
- There is a Local Authority Traffic Regulation Order in place for the ASL box
If the officer sees the vehicle in the zone without witnessing all of the first three above, then there is no prospect of prosecution against the burden of proof of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. In any case, the driver could simply have been obeying rule 178 of the Highway Code.
Myth: Cyclists can jump red lights if the junction is clear.
Not true: The same offence is committed as a driver of a vehicle and a fine may be liable. If an ASL box is provided then cyclists may only enter the box ahead via the cycle lane not by crossing the stop line.