Sunday, 1 February 2009

Signal improvements on Station Lane/Muller Road

This is a pretty profound event. A member of the council's cycling/walking group personally told us it was coming, but we had to wait and see. The sign is up "new signals ahead", and now, if you wave your bicycle over the sensors, bikes get a green light -that is green only for them. No longer do you have to fear the cars turning right off Shaldon Road getting pissed off with, you, the "red-light-running cyclist" trying to get in their way and shouting at them if they try and run you over.

This is a moment to feel grateful for. Not only does it make the commute better, it is a sign that online campaign groups can achieve change. Look at these messages, in the cycling campaign mail archives, which show that people have been reporting signalling problems. And look -it only took us four years and the creation of Bristol Cycling City for this to happen.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Steve L
Date: Tue, Oct 25, 2005 at 9:35 AM
Subject: Re: Muller road/shaldon road bike lights
To: John Roy
Cc: Andrew Whitehead, bristolcyclingcampaign


Has the Muller/Shaldon/Station road bike lights timing problem been
investigated yet? It has been a month since I reported it.

I can verify that the cars turning right from Shaldon Road to Muller road still get a green light 5-6 seconds before vehicles (especially bicycles) trying to go straight across to Shaldon Road. This, coupled with the fact that there are no signs indicating that this is a four-way crossroads means that you cannot cross this road safely while
obeying the lights. The only safe way to do it is watch for the muller road lights to go red and cycle across the junction then, against the red light.

This junction is now the most dangerous one on my daily journey.


Good Morning Steve

Your email has been fowarded to me and I will have it registered as a formal piece of correspondence, I understand Andy Whitehead has already corresponded with you but he was unaware of the reasons for the changes at these lights. I am not a signals engineer so cannot answer the question you have raised. However the works which have just been completed on this junction were part of the Safer Routes to School measures for the new Fairfeild School and include new pedestrian phases on Shaldon Road.

I have fowarded your email to Bruce Slattery in our signals team and have asked him by copy of this email to answer your question.

John Roy
Team Manager
Walking, Cycling, Safer Routes to School and Public Rights of Way
Traffic Management

Hi Andy,

I'm writing in with a request that would be very helpful for the
safety of cyclists in the Muller road area, especially the many young

Please can the timings of the new traffic lights at Muller road/Shaldon road be adjusted so that vehicles coming out from Station Lane get a green light before cars turning right from Shaldon Road to Muller Road? Station Lane is the main pedestrian/bike route between Lockleaze and Ashley Down; it is used a lot by students going to and from Brunel College, and up to the University, as there is a bike path to UWE at the top of Shaldon Road.

There has recently been a lot of work in the area, with a new set of traffic lights at the road junction, and many much welcome improvements on the underpass between Station Lane and Station Road, such as resurfacing, cutting back of vegetation and removal of the remains of abandoned stolen cars.

However, the new lights appear to increase the risk to cyclists heading north from Station lane onto Shaldon road, as the timings are worse than they used to be.

The underlying problem is that cars heading down Shaldon road view the four way junction as a T-junction, and pull out in front of anyone cycling out from Station Road, even though they are meant to give way. Historically, the solution to this has been "head out as soon as the light goes green, assert your presence".

But now the timings appear to be different, and vehicles turning right onto Muller road are setting off before I get a green light, which seems to imply that they are getting a green light before me. This makes it much harder to get across the road.

If the light timing was adjusted so that bikes coming out of Station Lane had a few seconds start on cars turning right, I think it would be much safer to cross the road. This, combined with all the improvements made to Station Lane and the underpass, would make it a very good route for cylists. Otherwise, the only safe way to cross muller road would be to pedal over to the pedestrian crossing, hit the wait button there, and then cycle out against the red light when everything is stopped for cars.

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