What Are the Rules of the Road for Cyclists?

If you’d like to start a debate on social media, simply ask who has the rights to the road, cyclists or car and van drivers. This is a subject that many are passionate about for opposite reasons. For example, some cyclists believe that drivers need to take a lot more care when sharing the road with a cyclist, while some drivers believe that cyclists take over the roads and cause an inconvenience alongside an obstruction to drivers.

Many arguments have been instigated with anger from both sides on social media and the heated conversations usually turn to responsibility and the Highway code.

Without taking sides, and with an unbiased view, what exactly are the rules of the road when it comes to cyclists? Do motorists have a point when they make the following complaints?

  • Cyclists riding two abreast
  • Cyclists overtaking at traffic lights
  • Cyclists riding on pavements
  • Cyclists not indicating properly

Do cyclists have a point when they complain about:

  • Motorists not giving them enough room
  • Motorists being rude
  • Motorists cutting them off

These are the actual laws surrounding these differences, which should hopefully clear up the rights of way and any misunderstandings. Although, some of the rules state that cyclists or bicyclists “should” adhere to them, which can muddy the waters in legal terms as it suggests that they are guidelines and not considered a criminal, prosecution act if ignored. Despite this, if any claim is ever made with a cycle injury lawyer, the highway code will be referred to and the cyclist or motorist will be found at fault.

Cyclists are allowed to drive two abreast, despite many motorists, (and even a police officer in Essex) being annoyed by this. The times when cyclists are not allowed to ride two abreast are:

  • When approaching a hill or going over a hill
  • On a narrow country road
  • Where the road narrows
  • On a bend

If cyclists do ride two abreast in these conditions they are not abiding by the highway code.

When overtaking cyclists, motorists must give as much space as they would when overtaking a car. This is a little unclear. Does the highway code mean one must give the same amount of space between the over taking car and the car being overtaken (which is generally only a foot or two)? Or does it mean one should pretend the cyclist is the same width as a car and overtake using the opposite side of the road only? For argument’s sake it’s probably best we assume to give as much space as possible, and overtake as if the cyclist is indeed the width of a car.

Despite confusion over the rules, the amount of cyclists on the road is increasing which means we must all, motorists and cyclists, learn how to use the roads safely for both parties.

If an accident should happen, there are cycle injury lawyers in London, and the rest of the UK who will fight on a cyclist’s behalf. Hopefully, if the rules are followed, it won’t come to that!



About Martina Mercer

Martina Mercer is a FMCG PR Specialist journalist and marketer. She combines her psychology and business expertise to deliver public relations and advice on the consumer journey to many big named brands. Her real passion is writing and you'll find her articles and books all over the web along with a few awards she's won, such as The Working Mum of the Year 2014. She always loves to connect and is always open to new opportunities so don't hesitate to get in touch through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email. Martina is also the editor of Sunday Woman Magazine the luxury lifestyle mag for over 30 women with a brain :)

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