Could this be a game-changer? Britain’s first cycling safe junction is officially open

The major junction keeps riders segregated from traffic, making it safer to turn in any direction

Britain’s cyclists have more cause for optimism this week, as the country’s first cycling safe four-way junction has officially opened.

The ‘Cycle Optimised Protected Signals’, or CYCLOPS, junction in Manchester is the first of its kind in the UK, keeping cycles segregated from traffic and making turning safer.

Manchester City Council officially opened the junction, which sits on the Royce Road in Hulme, on Monday (July 6) and the innovation has been welcomed by Chris Boardman.

The opening of the junction comes as a council in Wales introduced its own UK-first cycling safety measure, installing road signs that remind drivers of the safe over-taking distance.

Boardman, Olympic gold medallist and now Manchester’s cycling and walking commissioner, said: “Crossing busy junctions on foot or by bike can be a complicated and scary experience and is often a huge barrier for people travelling by foot or bike, and having to navigate a number of these can make them opt for the car.

“This junction design will make journeys easier and smoother for those doing their bit by cycling or walking, without impacting negatively on any other modes. The design is simply genius and I’m not surprised to see other places already adopting the approach.”

Cyclists approach the junction and are led into a roundabout-style cycle track which runs around the outside of the roads.

The CYCLOPS junction is part of the £13.4 million Manchester to Chorlton cycling and walking route, which leads into Manchester city centre.

The CYCLOPS junction in Manchester (Picture: Manchester City Council)

Manchester City Council’s executive member for the environment and transport, Councillor Angeliki Stogia, said: "The CYCLOPS junction maximises opportunities for safer cycling and walking in this area, while making the performance of the junction more efficient for all road users.  As we gradually welcome Mancunians back to their city centre, we’re really looking forward to seeing this trailblazing feature becoming a landmark part of what is a well-used commuter route.

“This UK-first junction is a symbol of our desire to create permanent, high-quality cycling and walking infrastructure, which will support the long-term shift to active travel that we want to see right across the city.

"And it is only the latest milestone in our ambitious plans to invest in a network of safe routes for people travelling on foot or by bike.  We're continuing to move forward with our £79m pipeline of projects, which will enable more people across the city to make the switch to walking and cycling for their everyday journeys.”

This week, Gywnedd Council in North Wales unveiled their own cycling safety innovation, by installing minimum passing distance signs on a number of roads in Snowdonia National Park.

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Each signs clearly shows that cars should be giving cyclists 1.5 metres on the road and have been welcomed by cyclists as the Gwynedd Council looks to tackle the “very real” conflict between motorist and riders.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.