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Cycling Laws in the UK

November 13, 2019 by in category News with 0 and 0
Home > News > News > Cycling Laws in the UK

Although there are traffic offences that apply to motor offences only, there are a number of laws that apply to ALL vehicles and therefore cyclists have to abide by them.

Are cyclists permitted to cycle on the pavement?

Although The Highways Act 1835 is now rather archaic, there is a section that remains good law and prevents cyclists from riding on any footpath.  This legislation does not directly refer to cyclists or mention the word ‘pavement.’ However, it does state “If any person shall wilfully ride upon any footpath or causeway by the side of any road made or set apart for the use or accommodation of foot passengers…”

Therefore, s.72 of the Act makes it illegal for cyclists to cycle on the pavement (footpath). Further, they can be hit with the “on the spot” fixed penalty notice of £50[1] and be fined up to a maximum of £500.

So, if cyclists are not allowed to cycle on a pavement, do they have to use cycle lanes?

The simple answer is no. However, Section 63 of the Highway Code states that:

“Although not compulsory, you should use the lanes whenever practical as they can make your journey safer. If you need to leave the cycle lane, always check that it is safe to do so and signal to other road users.”The Highway Code

Cycle lanes in the UK have white markings along the road (which may be broken) and are designed to keep a cyclist safe on the road, however their use is not compulsory. In fact, a cyclist should only use a cycle lane when it is practicable and safe to do so as not all cycle paths are equal.

Cycle lane danger

Cycle lanes are often too narrow on the side of the road. Other motorists may assume that as long as they are not driving in the cycle lane then cyclists will be safe. However, it should be noted that many inexperienced cyclists often travel close to the edge of the markings to avoid collision with pedestrians on the pavement or other obstacles in their way. If a car drives too close to the cycle lane, then they are potentially causing dangerous passes for both the driver and the cyclist.

Section 66 of the Highway Code gives guidance to cyclists when riding on a road.

You should:

  • Keep both hands on the handlebars except when signalling or changing gear.
  • Keep both feet on the pedals.
  • Be considerate of other road users, taking extra care around blind and partially sighted pedestrians. Use your
  • bell when necessary to signal you are nearby.
  • Ride single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends

You should not:

  • Ride more than two abreast.
  • Ride close behind another vehicle.
  • Carry anything that will affect your balance or get tangled up in your wheels or chain.

[1] Schedule 3 and Section 51 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

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