A priority control is generally used for intersections of minor and major roads.  At priority intersections, the side road(s) has either a ‘Give Way’ or a ‘Stop’ control.  An uncontrolled intersection is generally used where low order roads meet in a T intersection, no control is implemented and normal give way rules apply.

Priority and uncontrolled intersections are the most common intersections in the transport network. Cyclists on the major road travelling through priority/uncontrolled intersections generally travel on the kerbside of the general traffic lane (or within a cycle facility) and are opposed by vehicles emerging from side roads and turning into the side road from the major road.

Some busier (for example, commercial) driveways have similar characteristics to side roads and the guidance provided here applies.

  • Design considerations


    A range of aspects need to be considered when designing for cyclists at priority or uncontrolled intersections. These are discussed below.

    Cyclists on the major leg should have priority over motor vehicles on the minor leg. Under current legislation a separated cycleway is legally not part of the roadway which makes this priority arrangement difficult to achieve. Refer to the legal definition of roadway(external link) for further information.

    Where queues form on the major road and gaps in the traffic are left for vehicles to turn into side roads, cyclists travelling past this stationary or slow moving traffic are put at risk. Cyclists on the major road rely on drivers undertaking the opposing movements seeing them and giving way. Work to address this risk has been carried out in Auckland for bus lanes(external link), but the learnings apply equally to cycle facilities.

    Where a cycle lane is provided on the main road, the side road should be under give way control unless it also meets the criteria for stop control. An exception to this is if a threshold treatment with a raised platform is provided on the side road.

    Separated cycleways crossing priority controlled intersections require special consideration as outlined in an interim guidance note [PDF, 2.4 MB]. In the long term a full guidance document for separated cycleways will be developed (watch this space icon).

    Case studies that include separated cycleways across priority controlled intersections are:

    • Tennyson Street in Christchurch – transitions the separated cycleway to a cycle lane prior to the priority intersection with cyclists afforded priority over vehicles entering/exiting the side road.
    • St Vincent Street in Nelson – require cyclists using the separated cycleway to give way to vehicles on the side road by installing give way controls within the separated cycleway.

    Signs and markings

    Cycle lanes across side roads should be marked with continuity lines. Best practice layouts of cycle lanes across priority intersections are illustrated in MOTSAM Part 2, Section 3.18.

    There are no specific signage requirements for cycle facilities at priority and uncontrolled intersections.

    Close Back to top