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There are many misconceptions round what it’s authorized and unlawful for cyclists to do on the roads, and even what cyclists needs to be doing to be a thoughtful highway consumer. This confusion has resulted in lots of an argument between motorists and cyclists, and contributes in direction of accidents on the roads.
In early 2022, the Freeway Code was up to date to enhance readability, implementing a hierarchy of highway customers relying on the quantity of danger they pose. This gave cyclists some extra freedoms to higher defend themselves, for instance formalising the recommendation to trip in the midst of the lane the place safer, but additionally some extra obligations in relation to defending extra susceptible highway customers like pedestrians and horses.
Right here, we’ll take you thru all the legal guidelines, guidelines and pointers within the UK Freeway Code for cyclists, explaining what you legally can and can’t do, what you need to do on your personal security and the protection of others, and clarify how these guidelines have modified from the earlier Freeway Code.
In-Brief: UK Freeway Code for Cyclists
Cyclists Can Legally:
- Trip within the centre of the lane on quieter roads, in slower shifting visitors, and at junctions/highway narrowings (Rule 72)
- Trip in bus lanes (Rule 65)
- Trip two abreast (Rule 66)
- Take precedence when going straight forward at a junction (Rule 76)
- Trip within the left or right-hand lane on roundabouts (Rule 79)
- Cycle throughout toucan crossings that are shared by cyclists and pedestrians (Rule 82)
- Not put on a helmet (Rule 59)
Cyclists Ought to (Non-obligatory):
- Put on a Helmet (Rule 59)
- Put on fluorescent/light-coloured clothes for visibility (Rule 59)
- Not carry something that might make them lose management of their bike (Rule 66)
- Park their bike sensibly in a manner that doesn’t trigger an obstruction or hazard (Rule 70)
- Preserve 0.5m away from the kerb on busy roads, and additional the place safer (Rule 72)
- Permit sooner shifting automobiles to overhaul the place secure to take action (Rule 72)
Cyclists Should Not:
- Don’t have any lights on their bike: Cyclists will need to have white entrance and purple tail lamps lit at night time, and bikes should be fitted with a purple rear reflector and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1/10/85 (Rule 60)
- Enter into the pedestrian footpath when utilizing cycle tracks (Rule 62)
- Cycle on a pavement (Rule 64)
- Carry a passenger except the bike has been constructed or tailored to take action (Rule 68)
- Maintain onto a shifting car or trailer (Rule 68)
- Trip dangerously, carelessly or inconsiderately (Rule 68)
- Trip when underneath the affect of medication or alcohol, together with drugs (Rule 68)
- Ignore visitors indicators and visitors gentle alerts (Rule 69)
- Cross the cease line at a purple gentle (Rule 71)
Freeway Code for Cyclists: All 23 Guidelines and Legal guidelines
Rule 59: Cyclists ought to keep away from sporting clothes that may get caught within the chain or obscure bicycle lights. They need to additionally put on a cycle helmet that conforms to the present laws, is the right measurement and is accurately fixed, and fluorescent/light-coloured clothes is really useful for visibility.
Rule 60: At night time you should have white entrance and purple tail lamps lit, and your bike should be fitted with a purple rear reflector and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1/10/85.
Rule 61: Use cycle lanes the place they make your journey safer and simpler – cyclists should not obliged to make use of them.
Rule 62: When utilizing cycle tracks – routes for cyclists which are bodily shielded from motor visitors – cyclists should preserve to the facet supposed for cyclists and never enter into the pedestrian footpath. If there isn’t any separate footpath, you need to take care when passing pedestrians.
Rule 63: Take care when passing pedestrians, horse riders or horse-drawn automobiles – don’t cross them at velocity or too shut, and you shouldn’t cross a horse on its left.
Rule 64: You should not cycle on a pavement.
Rule 65: Most bus lanes can be utilized by cyclists as indicated on indicators. Watch out when doing so. Don’t cross between the kerb and a bus when it’s at a cease.
Rule 66: Cyclists ought to:
- Guarantee they preserve management of their cycle, together with not carrying something that might make them lose their steadiness or that may get tangled in bike
- Be thoughtful of different highway customers normally, together with utilizing a bell to make their presence recognized
- Be thoughtful of different highway customers when using in teams, together with permitting drivers to overhaul once you suppose it’s secure
- Not trip shut behind a car in case it stops immediately
Rule 67: It’s best to:
- Stay conscious of your environment by wanting round earlier than turning or pulling away
- Look out for obstructions within the highway
- Go away a door’s width or one metre when passing parked automobiles
- Be careful for pedestrians moving into your path
- Concentrate on different highway customers
- Use alerts to point out your intention
- Take care close to visitors calming options like highway humps and narrowings
- Solely cross on the left of huge automobiles when biking on the highway
Rule 68: You should not:
- Carry a passenger except your bike has been constructed or tailored to take action
- Maintain onto a shifting car or trailer
- Trip dangerously, carelessly or inconsiderately
- Trip when underneath the affect of medication or alcohol, together with drugs
Rule 69: You should obey all visitors indicators and visitors gentle alerts.
Rule 70: When parking your bike, discover a conspicuous location the place it may be seen by passers-by, use cycle parking amenities the place attainable, don’t create an obstruction or hazard, and safe it nicely.
Rule 71: At visitors lights, you should not cross the cease line when the lights are purple.
Rule 72: Street positioning – there are two fundamental positions to undertake relying on the scenario.
- Trip within the centre of your lane to make your self as seen as attainable – that is used on quiet roads, in slower shifting visitors, and when approaching junctions or narrowings the place it’d be unsafe for drivers to overhaul you
- On the left – On busy roads, you need to preserve 0.5 metres away from the kerb, and additional the place it’s safer. It’s best to permit faster-moving automobiles to overhaul the place it’s secure to take action.
Rule 73: At junctions:
- Use cycle amenities, eg small cycle visitors lights, the place it’s safer and simpler to take action
- If there are not any separate cycle amenities, act such as you’re driving a motorized vehicle
- Place your self within the centre of your lane the place secure. If this doesn’t really feel secure, you’ll be able to dismount and stroll your bike throughout the junction.
Rule 74: When turning:
- If turning left, be careful for different automobiles turning into or out of the facet highway. Verify for different cyclists or motorcyclists earlier than signalling, and don’t trip on the within of automobiles signalling or slowing down to show left.
- If turning proper, test the visitors then sign and transfer into the centre of the highway, ready for a secure hole earlier than turning. You would possibly need to dismount and push your bike throughout the highway if safer.
- When turning into or out of a facet highway, give approach to pedestrians.
Rule 75: Two stage turns – at some signal-controlled junctions, cyclists could also be instructed to show proper in two levels:
- When the visitors lights go inexperienced, cyclists turning ought to go straight forward to the placement on the highway marked with a cycle image and switch arrow, and wait.
- When the visitors lights on the far facet of the junction which at the moment are dealing with the cyclists are inexperienced, they’ll then flip.
Rule 76: When going straight forward at a junction, you’ve gotten precedence over visitors ready to show into or out of a facet highway, except highway markings say in any other case. Concentrate on different drivers, particularly slow-moving lorries and different lengthy automobiles.
Rule 77: When crossing quick or busy essential roads, you would possibly discover it safer and simpler to push your bike throughout on foot, look forward to a secure hole within the visitors to cross, and make use of visitors islands to assist.
Rule 78: When utilizing a roundabout with out cycle amenities, adhere to guidelines 184 to 190 of the Freeway Code.
Rule 79: At roundabouts, you’ll be able to trip within the left or right-hand lane, shifting left when approaching your exit and signalling proper to point out once you aren’t leaving the roundabout. It’s additionally effective to dismount and stroll your bike on the pavement or verge when you really feel safer doing so. It’s best to at all times be careful for visitors and bear in mind that drivers might not simply see you.
The place a roundabout has separate cycle amenities, use them in the event that they make your journey safer and simpler – however you’re not obliged to make use of them.
Rule 80: Give loads of room to lengthy automobiles on a roundabout – don’t trip within the area they should get round it.
Rule 81: Don’t trip throughout equestrian crossings. Don’t trip throughout a pelican, puffin or zebra crossing. Dismount and wheel your bike throughout.
Rule 82: You’re allowed to cycle throughout toucan crossings, that are push-button operated light-controlled crossings permitting cyclists and pedestrians to share crossing area and cross on the similar time.
Cycle tracks on the alternative sides of the highway could be linked by cycle-only signalled crossings – you might trip throughout these however you should not accomplish that till the sunshine is inexperienced, and you ought to be conscious of pedestrians.
Take further care when crossing degree crossings and tramways, and ensure to dismount the place a ‘bike owner dismount’ signal is displayed.
New Freeway Code Guidelines for Cyclists
In early 2022, the Freeway Code was up to date with some modifications for motorists and cyclists alike, to boost security for all highway customers.
The up to date code launched a hierarchy of highway customers, which signifies that those that pose the best danger to others have the next degree of duty, inserting drivers on the prime.
Cyclists have the next duty than horses and pedestrians, so needs to be notably conscious of their security, however nonetheless ought to have regard for all highway customers’ security in addition to their very own.
As such, cyclists shouldn’t cross pedestrians, folks on horses or horse-drawn automobiles at velocity. You at the moment are suggested to decelerate when essential, let folks know you’re there, and never cross a horse on its left-hand facet.
Cyclists have lengthy been suggested to trip within the centre of the lane for higher visibility and to discourage unsafe overtaking, however the Freeway Code has now been up to date to formalise this recommendation. It states that cyclists ought to cycle in the midst of the lane on quiet roads, in slow-moving visitors, and when approaching junctions/highway narrowings, and in addition says that cyclists ought to preserve 0.5m distance from the kerb when on busier or sooner roads.
The brand new code additionally clarifies that cyclists can trip two abreast. This has at all times been the case, however it’s usually a supply of battle on roads and the change within the language emphasises rider security.
It additionally confirms that cyclists can cross stationary or slow-moving visitors on the best or the left.
The 2022 replace to the Freeway Code additionally has new guidelines for cyclists at junctions, for instance that, when turning into or out of a junction, cyclists ought to give approach to people who find themselves crossing or ready to cross. The brand new Rule 75 outlines two-stage turns at some signal-controlled junctions, and the brand new code additionally says that cyclists now have proper of manner when biking straight forward at junctions except indicators say in any other case.
Plus, the replace clarifies that cyclists have precedence on roundabouts, and that drivers/motorcyclists shouldn’t cross cyclists of their lane.
Bicycle Freeway Code FAQs:
Are Cyclists Allowed to Trip Aspect-by-Aspect?
Sure, cyclists can trip side-by-side two abreast, and it might be safer to take action in sure conditions. That stated, cyclists ought to at all times be thoughtful of different highway customers when using in teams, together with permitting drivers to overhaul once you suppose it’s secure.
Are Cyclists Allowed on Twin Carriageways?
Sure, cyclists are allowed on twin carriageways, offered there are not any indicators saying in any other case, however it isn’t at all times prone to be a nice or secure expertise, given how briskly visitors strikes on twin carriageways.
Are Cyclists Allowed on A-Roads?
Sure, cyclists can trip on A-roads, so long as there are not any indicators saying in any other case. Cyclists are additionally not allowed to affix a part of an A-road if it’s designated as a motorway, for instance the A1(M).
Are Cyclists Allowed within the Bus Lane?
Sure, most bus lanes can be utilized by cyclists as indicated on indicators. It’s best to at all times watch out when doing so, and particularly don’t cross between the kerb and a bus when it’s at a cease.
Are Cyclists Allowed to Run Crimson Lights?
No, all highway customers should cease at purple lights, together with cyclists.
Are Cyclists Allowed on Motorways?
No, cyclists should not allowed on motorways – it’s unlawful to trip a bicycle on the motorway.
Are Cyclists Allowed on Pavements?
No, Rule 64 of the Freeway Code says you should not cycle on a pavement.
Are Cyclists Allowed to Undertake?
Technically, sure, cyclists are allowed to undertake – there isn’t any regulation to ban doing so. Nevertheless, you need to solely cross on the left of automobiles when it’s secure to take action, i.e. not when they’re signalling or slowing to show left. It’s best to by no means cross a horse on its left.
Can Cyclists Put on Headphones?
Sure, legally cyclists can put on headphones, however as a highway consumer you need to at all times trip with due care and a spotlight and guarantee you might be at all times absolutely conscious of your environment.
Can Cyclists Use Cell Telephones?
Technically, sure. It’s not a particular offence to make use of a cell phone whereas biking, however Rule 66 of the Freeway Code states that cyclists ought to ensure that they preserve management of their bike, and Rule 68 says it’s unlawful to trip dangerously, carelessly or inconsiderately.
Can Cyclists Use Pedestrian Crossings?
Cyclists can’t trip throughout pelican, puffin or zebra crossings, however they’ll trip throughout toucan crossings, that are push-button operated light-controlled crossings permitting cyclists and pedestrians to share crossing area and cross on the similar time.
Do Cyclists Must Put on a Helmet?
Rule 59 of the Freeway Code says that cyclists ought to put on a helmet, however there isn’t any authorized requirement to take action.