Remove the centre line to increase safety

20 mph speed limits would increase safety
Victoria Hazael's picture

Remove the centre line to increase safety

New study funded by CTC finds 20 mph speed limits and the removal of centre-lines may be the most effective ways to reduce the speed at which drivers overtake cyclists.

In a study published this week, Professor John Parkin and Stella Shackel observed a reduction of speed of vehicles passing cyclists on roads with no centre line. A centre line may present a visual clue about where a driver should ‘drive up to’. Its absence may cause the driver to consider his or her road position and speed more carefully.

Lowering speed limits to 20 mph was also found to be associated with lower overtaking speed, whereas the presence of a cycle lane was not associated with either any differences in distance or speed of passing motor traffic.

The report’s findings that drivers overtaking behaviour is not dependent on cycle lanes makes a strong case for protected space for cyclists. This is an issue that highway authorities should take seriously. Well designed cycling infrastructure which leads to people’s feeling of safety is essential to getting more people on the road.”

Sam Jones
CTC Campaigner

Results from the paper were also presented at the Cycling and Society Research Group meeting in Newcastle on 15 and 16 September 2014.


Contact information 

CTC Press Office
Telephone: 07786320713/ 01483 238 315

John Parkin: 0117 3286367

Notes to editors 

1. The Study reference is ‘Shackel, S. and Parkin, J. (2014) Measuring the influence of on-road features and driver behaviour on proximity and speed of vehicles overtaking cyclists. Accident analysis and prevention 73, December, pp100-108’ available free  until 3rd November 2014 at :

2.    John Parkin is Professor of Transport Engineering, University of  the West of England. 0117 3286367.
3.    Stella C. Shackel, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds

CTC, the UK’s largest cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone.

• We provide expert, practical help and advice.
• We support individuals and communities.
• We protect cyclists’ interests.
• We campaign to make cycling mainstream and to remove the things that stop people cycling.
• We help people develop the confidence and skills to cycle.
• We promote the benefits of cycling to individuals, to society and to the economy.


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