Cycling On UK Roads: How To Avoid Danger




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There are so many mixed messages that we hear about cycling on UK roads that it can become very confusing for both the cyclists out there and the fellow drivers sharing the roads. If you too are wandering which rules are real and which are myths read on!


Are Cyclists Allowed on the Pavement?

As a general rule cyclist are not allowed on the pavement unless sign posted otherwise or includes a cycle lane. The highway code states under rule 64 “You MUST NOT cycle on the pavement”. You can now also be given a fixed penalty notice basically a fine if your are caught cycling on a pavement. Those are the black and white facts however there is as always a grey area. And the grey area is sometimes cyclists feel it is necessary to cycle on a pavement if they are in fear of the traffic during particularly busy periods or a bad road. With this in mind authorities would like take this into consideration before issuing a fine to a particular offender.

Are Many Cyclists fined for cycling on the pavement?

Realistically not many cyclists are fined for riding on the pavement but it does happen on occasion. What is more likely to happen is the police with give the person a warning and educate them that its not legal and they could end up with a fine in future. Saying this however sometimes police do have a crack down on the minority of inconsiderate cyclists out there and have been known to start handing out fines to these particular individuals.

What Other Cycling Laws are There About Cycling On UK Roads?

There are also a few laws related to cycling that could land you in hot water such as furious cycling and careless cycling. You can also potentially end up with a massive fine up to £2500 and/or a prison sentence, if for instance you were cycling to fast which led to a series injury .

Why do Cyclists Ride Side by Side?

Cyclist are often seen cycling side by side and are in fact encouraged to this in certain situations. For instance on a country road when it would be unsafe to overtake a cyclist without leaving adequate space. The cyclist is also more difficult to spot on a windy road and would therefore be better off cycling side by side. Cycling side by side also encourages other vehicles to leave enough space when over taking as well as making cyclists easier to spot by other road users.

Our other guide on how to drive at night will massivly help if you are not comfortable with night time driving.

Cycling On UK Roads
Side by side

Where Can I Find the Rules for Cycling On UK Roads?

Best place to find any rules for cycling on the UK roads on a bike or any other vehicle would be the highway code. And honestly everybody should own one of these books. If you are interested in having a look have a look here:

Do Cyclists Have Priority?

Cyclists do have priority over lorries and other motor vehicles but they do not have priority over pedestrian and walkers. Cyclists are higher on the hierarchy of priority than cars as they are more at risk of serious injury in the event of a collision on a bike.

Do Cyclists Have Priority at Roundabouts?

Cyclists do have priority on a roundabout as they will be going slower generally than any other vehicle and they are again at a higher risk of injury. Always leave lots of room on a roundabout as you normally would a car if not more. Never try to overtake a cyclist on a roundabout as again you are much more likely to cause a accident.

Do Cyclists Have to Obey the Speed Limit?

Officially no cyclists do not have to follow speed limits however realistically the sensible thing would be to follow these limits as they are there for a reason. And honestly the chances of a cyclist reaching speeds above the speed limit are unlikely in most situations. Saying all this, if a cyclist did break the speed limit which led to a collision, they would be held accountable for this in the eyes of the law.

Do Cyclists Have to Stop at Traffic Lights

The highway code says all road users must follow signs and traffic lights, so yes cyclist must follow traffic light signals. The same as cars, you can be issues fines up to £1000 however most fines would be around £30 fixed penalty notice which would be the same for a cyclist. How they would know who the cyclist was unless they physically saw the action i do not know.

Can You Drink and Drive a Push Bike?

The same as any other vehicle, it is against the law to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Do Cyclists Have to Signal When Turning?

Officially the highway code says “should” not “must” saying that it is not a legal requirement but it is highly recommend. This makes complete sense as taking one hand off the bike handles in every situation might not be possible. We would of course expect a modicum of common sense and generally signal when its safe to do so.


1. What safety equipment should I use while cycling on UK roads?

Use a well-fitted bicycle helmet to protect your head. Have lights and reflectors on your bike, especially for night or low-light conditions. A bell can also be useful to alert other road users of your presence.

2. How should I position myself on the road while cycling?

Avoid cycling too close to the kerb. Staying a little way into the lane helps you avoid drains and debris and makes you more visible to drivers. When passing parked cars, allow a door’s width of space in case one opens unexpectedly.

3. Is it safer to cycle on the road or on a cycle path?

Both have their risks. Roads expose you to traffic, while cycle paths can have pedestrians and other cyclists. Choose the route that suits your confidence and skill level, and always follow the Highway Code.

4. Can I cycle side by side with another cyclist on UK roads?

Yes, you can cycle two abreast on most roads in the UK. However, if it’s causing an obstruction to other traffic or in hazardous conditions, it’s safer and more considerate to ride single file.

5. What precautions should I take when cycling near large vehicles?

Avoid cycling up the inside of large vehicles, especially at junctions, where the driver may not see you. If you’re behind a large vehicle, make sure you’re far enough back to be seen in their mirrors.

6. How can I stay safe when cycling at night?

Use bright white front lights, red rear lights, and reflectors. Consider wearing reflective clothing to increase your visibility. Plan your route to use well-lit roads where possible.

7. How can I make myself more visible to drivers when cycling?

Wear bright or reflective clothing, use lights and reflectors, make eye contact with drivers where possible, and signal your intentions clearly.

8. What should I do if I’m involved in a collision while cycling?

If you’re injured, get medical attention as soon as possible. Report the collision to the police, especially if another vehicle was involved. Get the details of the other party and any witnesses, and inform your insurance provider if necessary.

9. Can I listen to music while cycling on UK roads?

Listening to music via headphones can be distracting and prevent you from hearing traffic and other important sounds. It’s safer to keep your senses fully focused on the road.

10. Is it safer to cycle in the bus lane?

Bus lanes can be safer for cyclists because they have less traffic. However, be aware of buses and taxis, and be prepared for vehicles crossing the lane to turn or park.

Cycling On UK Roads

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