Advance cycle lanes: When can you stop in the box?

Advance cycle lanes are now common-place in almost every town and city in Great Britain, but very few actually understand the law surrounding these lanes. Here is a guide to help you stay the right side of the law. 

Where there is an advance cycle lane,  rolling or creeping over the first line can cost you 3 penalty points and a hefty £100 fine, this applies to any motorised vehicle.

Now the confusing bit is as follows: if you are trapped inside the advance cycle lane because of traffic light rotation then that is not an offence. Legally, you must stop at the 2nd stop line so as to comply with traffic light legislation when the lights change to red. You must allow time and space for cyclists to move off if you are trapped inside an advance cycle lane.

Rule 178 of The Highway Code states the following:

Advanced stop lines. Some signal-controlled junctions have advanced stop lines to allow cycles to be positioned ahead of other traffic. Motorists, including motorcyclists, MUST stop at the first white line reached if the lights are amber or red and should avoid blocking the way or encroaching on the marked area at other times, e.g. if the junction ahead is blocked. If your vehicle has proceeded over the first white line at the time that the signal goes red, you MUST stop at the second white line, even if your vehicle is in the marked area. Allow cyclists time and space to move off when the green signal shows.

So to sum up, if you creep, you run the risk of conviction, if you are forced to stop you are fine. 

If a cyclist threatens to take photographs or video you in the advance cycle lane, just smile sweetly, show your best side and take no notice because unless the cyclist can prove you crept over the 1st line rather than were forced to stop due to light phasings,  there is no case to answer.  

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