​Advanced Stop Lines

Advanced stop lines are essentially ‘cycle boxes’ that were first introduced onto UK roads in 1986. Advanced stop lines can be the cause of some confusion, particularly for new and learner drivers. Here we’re going to take a look at the questions; what are advanced stop lines and how to use them?

What are Advanced Stop Lines

An advanced stop line comprises of two stop lines. If the traffic lights are amber or red, all motorists including motorcycle riders must stop just before the first stop line. On the other side of the first stop line is a cycle box, an area where bicycle riders can safely wait ahead of traffic. Just after the cycle box is the second stop line, where cyclists must wait behind until the traffic lights turn green.

Advanced Stop Line Explained
Motorists including motorcycle riders must wait before the first stop line. Cyclists must wait in the bike box, just before the second stop line.

Where Would You See Advanced Stop Lines?

Advanced stop lines are frequently used at light controlled junctions in busy towns and cities. To help differentiate the cycle box from surrounding tarmac, it’ll often be a different colour.

How to Use Advanced Stop Lines

If the traffic lights are amber or red, you must stop just before the first white stop line. If the junction is blocked, remain behind the first stop line, even if the lights change to green.

If you have driven over the first white line just as the traffic lights turns red, you must stop just before the second stop line and wait inside the cycle box. Give cyclists time and a space to safely move off when the lights turn green.

How to use advanced stop lines
At an amber or red signal, wait just before the first stop line. If you’ve already past the first stop line and the light changes to red, do not proceed over the second stop line.

Is it Illegal to Stop in a Cycle Box?

It’s not illegal to stop inside a cycle box if you’ve already crossed the first stop line and the traffic light turns red before you have crossed the second. It is permitted if it means you avoid running a red light or dangerously slamming on the brakes which may result in an accident.

However, it would be considered illegal if a motorist was seen to be creeping into the cycle box if the light was on red. If a driver is caught illegally entering the cycle box, they may incur three penalty points and a fine of £100.

Can Motorcyclists Wait Inside the Cycle Box?

Motorcyclists and moped riders cannot wait inside the cycle box. The designated area is for cyclists only.

Advanced Stop Lines and the Driving Test

The question that most learner drivers ask is if they do stop in the cyclist waiting area due to the light changing red, will they fail the driving test? Although not advancing past the second stop line on a red light is the correct procedure, stopping in the cycle box is still likely to fail a driving test. However, this would come down to specific circumstances and the examiner’s discretion.

Learning to Drive at Junctions

Junctions can be challenging and complex and take a lot of practice. for further information about the different types of junctions, see learning to drive: junctions.

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