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The Rules Of a Cyclist

There are so many mixed messages that we hear about cycling in the UK 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?

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 .

Can cyclists ride side by side and why do they?

In short yes they most definitely can cycle side by side and are in fact encouraged to is 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.

Side by side

Where can i find the rules for cycling on the road?

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: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/11525/9780115539954

Do cyclists have right of way?

Technically there is not such thing as right of way. Right of way assumes you have the right and know one has the right to take from anyone else. The best term to use is who has priority? Assuming you are taking about priority over cars then yes. Cyclists are higher on the hierarchy of priority 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 where 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.