Traffic lights: what’s the official position?

This week Londoners learned that cyclists “Wear Yellow (yea, that wes kinda hard).” Why would a green light turn yellow as soon as I saw it’s not a road? Surely it’s a dead end, where nobody can go? – zaydan

Is it possible that cyclists still see signs in yellow when they’re in the path of oncoming vehicles? Zaydan

Every single cycle lane in London is “Yellow Light only”. It’s not that they cannot go straight ahead, it’s that they must go cautiously because the road is not in their defined “limit”. But it’s only when there is a car in the path of a rider in the cycle lane that it turns yellow for them.

Cyclists get in the way of cars more often than not, so it’s understandable that a risk to both means a yellow light becomes an amber one. But it also means yellow lights are also turner white and later on signs brighten up, sending riders who don’t want to stop to come to a halt.

Not much effort is made to remind cyclists to be careful around this junction at night, when the traffic lights are common. Surely there is a sensor at the junction? Could this be an error on the part of the design team, and should we expect the Traffic Signage Department to join in with an official warning? – Log

Cyclists at a major junction at 8th Avenue in Amsterdam take a great interest in yellow before the red lights appear. Photograph: Marion Fischmann/Alamy

Cyclists themselves are not likely to turn yellow, since cars do. What is to stop them from oncoming drivers turning yellow as soon as they get a look at a cyclist? If cyclists don’t want to make light work of it, they should definitely bear this in mind before they head out for a cycle ride. – Log

Whilst my mind is happy to consider a signal turning yellow even when there’s nobody around, my heart tells me that such a sign is not the best practice. I, for one, would enjoy cycling on a green light, unless someone was in my way. At most, drivers should wait for people to get off their bikes, as seen in Berlin, who turn into the road. – Daniella Grozdanowycz

London-based author and writer. @dannysabuse

Are your traffic lights confusing or unfair? Have you spotted a traffic light that does something different or something that should change from a green to a red situation? Share your knowledge and we’ll feature the best in the series here.

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