Interoperability of road markings

I admire Boris.  I think he’s done a great deal already to promote the profile of bicycles in London, doing a similar job for bikes as Ken did for buses.  The recent introduction of the Cycle Superhighways (CSs) and the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme can only be a good thing.

But the road is now a very confusing place to be.  Many years ago, bus lanes didn’t exist.  Now they do, each one operating during a different set of times, some allowing taxis and motorbikes, others not.  Many road junctions now come with two solid white lines separated by an “advanced stop zone” for cyclists.  Possibly for motorcyclists too—who knows?  (Whether it’s technically illegal for a car to stop in said zone is subject to some debate.)

We have green cycle lanes which have been around for some time and the newly introduced blue CSs.  But when the blue CS expands to encompass an entire car lane, the only such lane that allows vehicles to go straight on, heaven knows what the cars should do.

Meanwhile, single and double-yellow lines on the side of the road are now joined by double-red lines, a suggestion that double-yellow lines were not sufficiently stringent.

And big, red Cs also adorn our roads, indicating that you’re approaching/in the Congestion Charging Zone.

The road and its plethora of colours and markings make a confusing place to be.  And I’m a Londoner, supposedly well-versed in, and certainly well-travelled on, the asphalt underfoot.  What it must be like for a tourist is anyone’s guess.

Someone should really take a step back and redefine the business requirements that the road markings are trying to achieve.  And then come up with a revised stylebook to support their implementation.  For I for one am confused.


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