Cycle traffic lights installed at notorious roundabout in Bow

Low-level traffic lights at Bow roundabout. Pic: TFL

Low-level traffic lights at Bow roundabout. Pic: TFL

New low-level traffic lights for cyclists have been installed at the notorious Bow Roundabout in East London.

The junction, where three cyclists have died, is the first site in London to have the traffic lights installed.

The new traffic lights, which repeat the signal displayed on main traffic lights at the cyclist’s eye-line, were switched on today following trials conducted last year.

Transport for London says that more than 80 per cent of cyclists favoured the use of low-level signals and have lined up another 11 locations for the traffic lights.

Possible locations include Cycle Superhighway seven at London Road and St George’s Road in Elephant & Castle.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “Innovative measures such as this are just one of a number of new safety initiatives we’ve been pushing for as part of my vision for cycling. We look forward to continuing to work with the government on many more measures to help make cycling even safer, more attractive and convenient for Londoners.”

TFL says most serious bike injuries and fatalities occur at junctions and the lights can alert cyclists to moving and turning motor traffic.

Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at TFL said: “These new signals, which will be a further improvement to the innovative traffic signals at Bow, will provide cyclists with a better eye-level view as to which stage the traffic signals are at.”

Whilst the scheme has received positive feedback from cyclists and campaign groups, campaigners urge further action to protect cyclists.

Donnachadh McCarthy from the cycle safety campaign group ‘Stop the Killing’ said: “It is a welcome first step, but a far more urgent task including the installation of left hand turn protection, and changing of the law on filtered left hand turning.”

Mike Cavenett, Communication Manager from the London Cycling Campaign said: “We support the principle of low-level traffic lights, which give junction designers greater scope to be innovative, to prioritize cycling, and to remove conflict with motor traffic. However, the current junction configuration at Bow is not safe for cycling, and it will take more than the addition of low-level traffic lights to fix it. At Bow, we’re calling for an all-green phase for cycling, to remove the risk of cyclists going straight-ahead being hit by motor vehicles turning left.”

TFL says it will be conducting off street trials of new segregated junctions for cyclists from next month.

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