Department for Transport
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Contra-Flow lanes for cyclists to encourage greener travel

Contra-Flow lanes for cyclists to encourage greener travel

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 17 September 2009

Cyclists will be allowed to ride in both directions on a number of one way streets as part of a series of measures to encourage greener travel.

The pilot project in the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea will allow cyclists to travel both ways on specific one way roads in the borough where a 'no entry except for cyclists' sign will be used.

Proposals to significantly reduce red tape for councils wanting to use certain traffic signs were also published today. The new measures will allow councils to put in place certain signs - including those for car club parking spaces, electric car charging points and cyclists - without the need for Government to approve their use individually.

Transport Minister Sadiq Khan said:

"We want to make it easier for councils to encourage people to choose greener transport options - whether that is cycling, getting a lift in a car club or using an electric car.

"The pilot contra-flow cycling system will help to reduce journey times for cyclists while allowing them to travel safely and legally on the most convenient routes. If this pilot is successful then councils across the country could be offered the opportunity to use similar measures on their roads."

The measures are the first to be announced following the start of the Department for Transport's Traffic Signs Review.

The consultation on amendments to the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions opens today and will run for 12 weeks to the 10th December 2009.

Currently, councils wanting to implement contra-flow cycling on one way streets usually need to use a number of engineering methods to create a dedicated cycle lane at the entry point. The Kensington and Chelsea pilot will use a new 'except cyclists' plate on existing 'no entry' signs without the need for engineering. It is hoped that this could provide a simpler more cost effective solution however the pilot will include feeder lanes and will be closely monitored to ensure safety.

Measures are also proposed to make it easier for councils to use a sign to warn lorry drivers of roads that are not suitable for heavy goods vehicles. This sign was devised to prevent lorry drivers following directions from satellite navigation systems when routes are too narrow.

Notes to Editors

1) A traffic sign can only be lawfully placed on the highway if it is either prescribed in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD) or specially authorised by the Secretary of State. Special authorisations require the local highway authority to make a formal application to the SoS and each case is assessed upon its merits.

2) The Department is undertaking a consultation on amendment regulations to TSRGD. This consultation is being launched today and can be found at

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