Cyclists and drivers usually share the same roads, and both can reduce the risk of collisions by following the rules of the road, acting responsibly towards other road users and taking account of some simple advice.
- Be visible to other road users and pedestrians. Steer well clear of the kerb; wear bright or fluorescent clothing in daylight and in poor light and reflective clothing at night. Always use lights after dark, in the rain or if the weather is overcast.
- Don’t ride in the gutter. Give yourself space on the left, and don’t feel you have to hug the kerb if a car behind you gets impatient.
- Protect yourself. Always wear a helmet as this reduces the risk of head injury if you are involved in a crash.
- Show drivers what you plan to do in plenty of time. Always look and signal before you start, stop or turn. Make eye contact with drivers and let them know you’ve seen them.
- Ride decisively. Don’t weave between lanes or change direction suddenly without signalling.
- Use cycle facilities wherever possible; these include cycle lanes and paths, advanced stop areas for cycles at traffic lights and so on. These facilities can make your journey safer.
If a cycle track (off road) is shared with pedestrians:
- Keep to the cyclists’ side
- Watch out for people who might find it difficult to move out of your way, such as older people, children and people with disabilities
- Use your bell to let people know you’re there
- Be prepared to slow down or stop if necessary
- Don’t dodge through stationary traffic – ride in a straight line down one side.
Cyclists and the law
Remember it’s against the law for cyclists to:
- jump red lights, including lights at pedestrian crossings
- cycle on pavements, unless there’s a sign showing that the pavement has been converted to a cycle track
- cycle the wrong way up a one way street, unless there’s a sign showing that cyclists can do so
- ride across pedestrian crossings, unless it’s a toucan crossing with a sign saying that cyclists can do so
- Give cyclists plenty of room. They may need to move out suddenly, especially in windy weather and on bad road surfaces. Potholes and cracks often occur near the side of the road and are a big obstacle for cyclists, who have to go round them.
- When you overtake cyclists, give them as much room as you would give a car.
- When you turn left, watch for cyclists on the inside. Large goods vehicles, buses and coaches need to be especially careful: check your secondary safety mirror carefully before you turn.
- Look behind you for cyclists before opening your door.
- Don’t expect cyclists to ride too close to the kerb. A cyclist in the middle of the road may be turning right. They also need to avoid drains and potholes, to be seen when they come to junctions or side roads.
- When cyclists turn right, you may have to wait behind them – just as you would for a car. Don’t squeeze past too closely or get impatient.
- Make an extra check for cyclists at junctions and roundabouts, whether you’re joining or passing the junction.
- Dip your headlights if a cyclist is coming the other way so you don’t dazzle them.