Advanced Stop Lines - What are they?

 Can I get fined for entering one?

ASLs, is the official name for bike boxes. NB bike as in cycle and not bike as in     motorcycle. They cause a lot of confusion and frustration to all road users. They are common place at UK traffic lights and were designed to give cyclists a safe place to stop and more time to pull off when the lights changed to green.

Bike at Lights

Is it illegal to stop at a red light in an ASL as a motorcyclist?

Short answer yes. You could receive three points on your license and up to £100 fine.  Rule 178 of the Highway Code states: "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.

"If your vehicle has proceeded ovSo why the confusion? Well various 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.

"Allow cyclists time and space to move off when the green signal shows."

Cyclist at lights

So why the confusion? Well various reasons. Even the Highway code states exceptions if lights changed and you are forced to brake suddenly also if the lights change and you can not clear the area then no offence has been committed.  PC James Aveling, a city bike patrol officer for more than 15 years says, "Booking cars which enter the zone is tricky as it's not illegal if they stop in one if a light turns red and they're part-way in. Officers thus have to watch a driver creep in on an already red light."

Even the Cycling Embassy acknowledges the negatives of ASLs, stating there are many disadvantages including the fact that they may encourage people to filter past traffic when it may not be always safe, and to position themselves in dangerous positions in front of HGVs and other vehicles with poor visibility.


So, what’s the thought of the biker?  Have you used the boxes illegally are they a waste of money?  Let us know.