If you are planning to cycle on the road, it’s important that you understand your rights as a cyclist.

According to government figures, 38% of us cycled to work in 2016. In order to get to work safely it’s essential for cyclists to know how best to cycle on the roads.

Whether you’re an experienced cyclist or just starting out, our cycling rules of the road list will make sure you stay safe and limit the risk of an accident.

Cycle equipment and clothing to keep you safe

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 working brakes, so make sure these, along with your tyres, saddle and handlebars are in working order before you set off.

Your bicycle should have approved front and rear lights that are lit, clean and working properly. 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 also advisable to wear light-coloured or fluorescent clothing, especially at night, so that you’re visible to other road users.

Cycling rules of the road

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. To avoid a road traffic accident, follow these rules for cyclists.

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.

Anticipate obstructions

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.

Cycle safely

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.

For more information on cycling rights on the road and avoiding a road traffic accident, visit our #StayRoadSafe campaign.