Rules for cyclists in the UK
If you are planning to cycle on the road, it’s important that you understand your rights as a cyclist.
According to government figures, 37% of cycling trips in England are for commuting and business. With more cyclists on the roads, it's essential to know your right of way as a cyclist in order to get to work safely.
There are a number of safety checks you should carry out before getting on your bicycle, many of which are legally required:
- It is an offence to ride a bike on the road without making sure the following are in working order before you set off: brakes, tres, saddle and handlebars
- Your bicycle should have approved front and rear lights that are lit, clean and working properly
Clothing to keep you safe
- If cycling in the dark, you should have a white light positioned at the front of your bike and a red light at the rear, so other road users can easily spot you
- A head-torch will help to make you more visible to others in poor weather conditions
- You should always wear the appropriate cycling gear when cycling, as failing to do so can result in a serious injury
- You should always wear a safety helmet to protect your head in the event of a collision or fall from your bike, no matter how long or short your cycling trip is, or whether you know the roads you're travelling on
- It's on advisable to wear light-coloured or fluorescent clothing, especially at night, so that you're visible to other road users.
Tips for cycling on the roads
Cyclists' rights on the road are similar to any other vehicle. However, there are a few things cyclists should be mindful of when sharing the road with other users. Whether you’re an experienced cyclist or just starting out, follow our simple road safety tips for cycling and avoiding a road traffic accident.
Use cycle routes where possible
Cyclists should use designated cycle lanes wherever possible. Cycle routes, advanced stop lines and toucan crossings have been designed specifically for cyclists to use and to help limit the risk of accidents. Cycle tracks and segregated paths are also there to prevent collisions with pedestrians.
Keep both hands on the handlebars and feet on the pedals
It goes without saying that cyclists should make sure that they keep both hands on the handlebars unless they’re signalling to indicate. Cyclists should also keep both feet on the pedals until they come to a stop.
Be aware of traffic
Be careful of other road users. Look around for pedestrians before moving, look behind you when making turns and be sure to signal.
Be considerate of other road users
Remember: you’re sharing the road with other vehicles and pedestrians. You should stop for pedestrians and be careful when cycling past vehicles, especially if you’re not sure of their intentions.
There has been a particular problem with cyclists going on the inside of lorries or cycling across junctions where lorries may turn. The key advice is to not cycle on the inside of lorries unless you are absolutely sure they have seen you.
Potholes are one of the most common causes of serious cycling accidents. Avoid getting injured by paying attention to the road and what obstructions may lay in your path, such as drains, speed bumps and parked vehicles.
Most importantly, you must not cycle in a dangerous or careless way that could cause harm to others. Make sure you obey all traffic signals just as you would if you were driving, such as stopping at red lights and proceeding when they turn green, giving way to the right and so on.
More information for cyclists
For more information on cycling rights on the road and avoiding a road traffic accident, visit our #StayRoadSafe campaign hub using the link below. Alternatively, if you have had an accident on the road and would like more information about how our solicitors can support you, visit our road traffic accident claims page.