Road Safety News

Safety concerns raised over ‘cycle lane delineators’

Tuesday 6th September 2016

Two of the UK’s leading motorcyclists organisations have issued a joint statement expressing safety concerns over ‘cycle lane delineators’.

Cycle lane delineators are a method used to prevent vehicles from entering cycle lanes. Taking a number of forms, they are designed to provide a visual separation between vehicle and bicycle lanes.

However, there are concerns that motorcyclists can be destabilised by the devices, and over the trip hazard they cause to pedestrians.

In their joint statement published on 26 August, the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) and the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF)* say that forms of ‘light segregation’, including ‘Armadillos’ and ‘Orcas’, are hazardous to riders and pedestrians alike.

The statement points to evidence from the monitoring of a ‘Mini-Orca’ scheme in the City of London which, according to MAG and BMF, which caused 55 pedestrians to trip in the first 24 hours following installation. The statement says the scheme has now been removed.

MAG and BMF are calling for an ‘urgent review’ of all current and pending light segregation schemes.

The statement reads: “The use of light segregation devices, including ‘Armadillos’, ‘Orcas’ and ‘Mini Orcas’, on our roads raises serious safety concerns in respect to riders of Powered Two Wheelers (PTWs). Inadvertent contact with the devices can quickly destabilise any two-wheeled vehicle with the potential to throw the rider into the path of other road users.

“These devices are easily damaged and broken by heavy vehicles, leaving fixing bolts exposed and protruding from the road surface, thus creating a further hazard to riders and pedestrians alike.

“Visibility is easily compromised by scuff marks from contact with tyres, poor light and weather conditions, a build-up of general road grime and the presence of other road users.

“Neither the BMF nor MAG wishes these devices to be fitted to our roads due to safety concerns for all vulnerable road users (VRUs), not just motorcyclists.

“Both organisations call for an urgent review of all current and pending light segregation schemes in light of the evidence demonstrating their hazardous nature.”

*The BMF and MAG, two of the country’s longest-running riders’ rights organisations, campaign on behalf of riders’ rights both in the UK and abroad.



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Cheapskate way of traffic segregation, too much expense to provide proper cycle lanes (look hard at how the Dutch do it) so a half witted idea to appease the populace is constructed using the cheapest method possible. Truly nothing more than a vote winner for the small minded clipboard warriors.
Adam Norfolk

Agree (7) | Disagree (2)

Still got them in Manchester :(
Chris in Manchester

Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

Whoever came up with these needs their head examining! I agree with David from Suffolk.
Guy Bradley, Hertfordshire

Agree (8) | Disagree (2)

As a cyclist and a motorcyclist I wouldn't want to use a road with this type of delineation. Cyclists travel at different speeds and with differing amounts of wobble - overtaking another cyclist with these could cause serious issues to the overtaker and others. The issue of parked vehicles in cycle lanes hasn't disappeared either.
Andy Sloane, France

Agree (14) | Disagree (0)

One more observation - painted yellow or not, aren't these also a trip hazard for peds crossing the c/way and then falling into the path of a vehicle?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (13) | Disagree (0)

They could have at least have been coloured yellow, so they could be easily noticed by motorists and two-wheelers alike and would no doubt have better served their purpose as delineators.
Hugh Jones

Agree (4) | Disagree (7)

One does not need scientific trials to ascertain whether these things cause significant problems to PTW users - one needs nothing other than a smattering of good old common sense and a quick chat with a motorcyclist.

If cyclists are going to be separated from traffic, then they need to be on wholly distinct paths that are far from the traffic. If they are to use the roads, then we need to learn to share the space and give them (and others) the room they deserve.

The lane shown in the photograph is nowhere near wide enough - how can one cyclist safely pass another? It will lead to vehicles passing too close to cyclists because selfish drivers will think that 'I am on one side of the armadillos, and they are on the other - no need to give them room'.

This 'solution' works for nobody, except perhaps for the accountants and the makers of such a daft product. Let's hope that MAG & the BMF are successful.
David, Suffolk

Agree (28) | Disagree (0)

It is clear that these are a cheap solution to appease a group of road users. Toby bollards or as they are better known tombstones were used to create a segregated lane as part of a City wide cycle route in Bristol, these stones were replaced before the route was opened due to damage by vehicles and complaints by all road users including cyclists, replaced by kerbed islands with drainage gaps.
Chris Sth Gloucestershire

Agree (15) | Disagree (1)

Is anyone out there able to let me/us know if any similar schemes to the one removed in the City of London are out there on the ground please?
Nick, Lancashire

Agree (2) | Disagree (1)

If segregation is needed (and often it is sensible to do so) I don't see why a narrow kerb detail with regularly spaced drainage gaps could not be used. A kerb is conventional and high enough to be seen and understood.
pete, liverpool

Agree (8) | Disagree (13)

Was this part of a scheme, or a measure installed in isolation? If the former, shouldn't this have been picked up by the road safety audit, if there was one?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (23) | Disagree (0)


1. Who is to say they were not "scientific trials"
2. Its not taxpayer's money. Its money that the local authority has collected from government, developers, rates, income, sale of assets and to be used for the good of the whole community whether they pay taxes or no. It's no more "taxpayer's" money than the money in your bank account belonging to your employer.
3. It seems that anything you object to is "unscientific" and never "evidence-led". Presumably the fact that they have been removed may well have been based on "evidence".
4. Its a moot point as to whether they are actually "cycle lane delineators" or "motor vehicle lane delineators".
Rod King, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (14) | Disagree (29)

Why weren't these ‘cycle lane delineators’ installed within scientific trials? Why are we spending £millions of taxpayers money on these and other interventions in tests that have no 'controls' and therefore no real evidence of effectiveness? Scientific trials are cheap, straight-forward and accurate. Let's start that evidence-led approach.
Dave Finney, Slough

Agree (19) | Disagree (7)

Couldn't agree more. This concept was never seriously tested for support from road safety practitioners, just presented to us as a 'fait accompli'. This was a well intended but nutty idea from the pro cycling lobby that needs putting back in its box. And that's the polite version.

Agree (41) | Disagree (5)