If you look real closely at the above image you just might spot some of the outline of a bicycle in the centre of the road marking.
This is an advanced stop box and is the only attempted one in the county as far as I’m aware.
If your driving is done mainly in Co. Wexford, you are not likely to have seen one of these and consequently you may be unaware of why these might exist or indeed what role they can play in terms of bicycle rider safety.
The main function of an advanced stop box is to allow cyclists to move to the head of the traffic queue so that they can move away safely when the time arises or when the traffic lights turn green.
First, let’s take a look at what cycle right (Ireland’s cycle training programme) has to say about these Advanced Bicycle Areas.
Advance stop lines set the point where drivers are supposed to stop before an advanced stop box.
An advanced Stop Box is an area at a junction before the general traffic stop line which is designated for cyclists.
This area is normally coloured Red. (Unless you live in Co. Wexford that is…)
Now let’s take a look at what the rules of the road has to say in terms of your driver responsibility in relation to Advanced Stop Boxes..
The next two images below explain this.
You will notice the words ‘must’ used in the graphic above from the rules of the road.
This means that it’s against the law to encroach in to these boxes if the light is red.
It is indeed illegal to cross this first line on the road as per image above.
Wexford Co. Co. has failed to introduce advanced stop boxes in any meaningful way and where they have, they are not adequately marked out.
You will see in the above image, a large box in a clearly marked shaded (Red) area along with a large bicycle painted within.
This helps drivers understand the function of such areas.
Getting the design right is crucial too as is set out in the National Cycling Design Manual.
Wexford Co Co would appear to have not reached that design standard in that regard here.
ASLs should follow specific design rules as follows:
- They should be 4-5 metres in length to allow enough space for cyclists to manoeuvre into the correct position.
- They should have a coloured surface for legibility.
A direct consequence of this is that I and others regularly observe drivers unwittingly stray in to these boxes when negotiating such infrastructure.
Without the adequate design in place, it’s easy to see how that situation could happen.
This though, according to the rules of the road, in the strictest sense is breaking the law.
This may seem like something trivial but for a bicycle rider to proceed safely, it’s important that they can gain access to this box and get ahead of other traffic where they can be seen.
Wexford, we can do much better.