Plans allowing councils freedom to cut the number of road markings and signs have been announced by Road Minister Robert Goodwill, who is currently at the CycleCity Expo in Leeds.
The changes are included in a new consultation which also contains proposals for clearer road markings, new low-level signals for cyclists, and the ability to create Dutch-style "cycle streets" where cyclists can have priority over motor traffic. The proposals will reduce the number of signs that the Department for Transport will need to authorise and streamline the approval process for councils, cutting regulation.
Roads Minister Robert Goodwill – who is also Minister for Cycling – said:
"The number of signs have soared from two million in 1993 to over 4.6 million today. This is causing unnecessary clutter in our towns and cities.
"The proposed changes will mean greater flexibility for councils to cut the number of signs, whilst ensuring consistency and making sure our roads are even safer for cyclists, and motorists."
The changes will mean road users could get signs that are easier to understand and could cut clutter on the roads. The proposals will also look to relax regulations for parking bays and yellow-box junctions to give local councils greater flexibility in designing road layouts and markings.
The Department for Transport's signage plans for cycling include bigger cycle boxes at traffic lights to make it safer for cyclists at junctions; low-level traffic light signals and filters that give cyclists a 'head start' on other traffic; the roll-out of shared crossings for pedestrians and cyclists which allow those on bicycles to cross the road safety, and removing the 'lead-in' lanes at advance stop lines, which force cyclists to enter a cycle box alongside the kerb
The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD) will offer clearer guidance to local councils on road signs and makings.
CTC policy co-ordinator Chris Peck said: "All of these things are small, simple changes which will make it easier for local authorities to improve facilities for cycling.
"But it will still take political will at a local level to provided adequate space for cycling. The Government must also provide the cash."