'Except Cycles' signs legal at last: London Cycling Campaign welcomes unrestricted access

The Department for Transport is removing restrictions on 'Except Cycles' being added to 'No Entry' road signs, offering potential safety benefits and shorter journeys for cyclists.

Transport minister Norman Baker announced a series of changes to signage regulations in a statement to Parliament, with some coming into effect in November 2011, but others still needing special authorisation until 2014.

Existing restrictions on signage have made it difficult and expensive for highway authorities to allow contraflow cycling on one-way streets.

Contraflows can provide safety benefits and convenience, allowing cyclists to avoid busy major roads and traffic gyratories.

Our campaigns manager Tom Bogdanowicz said, "We welcome this outbreak of common sense. London can now begin to catch up with those European cities where two-way cycling is allowed on almost all minor streets that are one-way for motor traffic."

According to recent trials in London, there has been a 50% fall in the number of motor vehicles disobeying the 'No Entry' and 'Except Cycles' signs.

These results compare favourable with adherence to the bizarre "Flying motor cycle" signs (see below), which was the norm before the rules were changed.

This sign prohibits access to motor vehicles, but is frequently misunderstood:

Other significant changes to Deparment for Transport regulations include:

  • Approval for cyclists' stopping areas, ASLs, without lead in lanes
  • Removing restrictrions on entering an ASL across the white line
  • Signage to indicate shared use areas

  • Permission to easily allow diagonal pedestrian crossings at major junctions - one of the possible innovations suggested for improving pedestrian flows at Blackfriars Bridge
  • Fewer signage restrictions for 20mph speed limit areas, including part time 20mph limits at schools
  • Cycle route signage with named routes and time to destination, as used on the Cycle Superhighways

There is a full list in the Traffic Signs Policy Paper: Signing the Way.