2 October 2015

Sign will help motorists 'think bikes' on the A23

A junction on the London Road in Brighton is the focus of a hi-tech trial to warn motorists to look out for motorcyclists and cyclists.

Drivers heading southbound on the A23 approaching Peacock Lane may notice a new vehicle activated warning sign near the junction. The sign detects motorcycles and bicycles in the bus lane and flashes a warning that can be seen by any vehicle approaching the junction.

At the end of last year, a trial to allow motorcycles in some bus lanes resulted in approval for motorcycles to use the bus lanes on an ongoing basis.

During the trial cyclist & pedestrian collision numbers were unchanged but the number of motorcycle collisions on this section of the A23 increased from three to six.

Officers say the numbers involved are too low to be statistically significant, but noted three of these incidents were on or near the junction, which was partially concealed by two large trees and the slight bend in the road. In all three cases a vehicle travelling south in the general traffic lane had turned across the path of a rider in the bus or cycle lane.

Councillor Cllr Gill Mitchell, chair of the city’s environment and transport committee, said; “We support the continued use of these lanes by motorcycles as a way of reducing congestion and increasing traffic flow. However, we will keep this under review and take steps when necessary to highlight and improve safety.

“Around 42% of collisions show that ‘looked but failed to see’ was the main contributory factor. We hope this sign, which will only flash when a rider is present, will serve as a valuable reminder for drivers to look for two wheeled vehicles.”

Andrew Frechter, head of sales at CA Traffic Ltd, said: “We are delighted to have been involved with the development of this intelligent transportation system which we hope will help achieve the desired outcome of safer roads. We hope that other local authorities across the UK will share the vision of Brighton & Hove City Council in exploring how ITS solutions can be utilised in such ways.

Cityparks have also trimmed back the trees to increase the junction’s visibility.

The junction will be monitored for a further year now the sign has been installed. A further 18 months monitored trial to allow motorcycles to use the new Lewes Road bus lanes will begin in 2016.


Background

During the trial, the A23 recorded no pedestrian casualties and cyclist collisions were consistent with the previous three year average.

Every major side junction on the A23 has been marked with a red surface in the bus lane to provide an additional ‘visual cue’ for vehicles turning across them to look out for other vehicles in these lanes.

Bus lanes on the A259 from Telscombe Cliffs Way to Ovingdean roundabout are also open to motorcycles. All other bus lanes are for buses, taxis and cyclists only.