Drivers and cyclists

Advice for drivers and cyclists so that roads are shared safely

Cyclists need to be aware of the driver's blind spot when passing lorries and buses

Cyclists need to be aware of the driver's blind spot when passing lorries and buses

Many people are getting back on their bikes or taking up cycling as the most convenient (and cheapest) way to get around – particularly in London where the cycle hire scheme has encouraged more to get on their bikes.

Transport for London (TfL) – the body responsible for all transport in the capital including the Barclays Cycle hire scheme wants to ensure that all cyclists are aware of the the following key tips for safer and confident cycling.

Though from TfL and aimed at London cyclists the advice applies equally to cyclists in towns and cities across the country.

TfL advice to Cyclists

  • Be aware of the driver's blind spot when passing lorries and buses. It's often safer to hang back.
  • Pay attention to what is going on around you and be aware of what other road users might do.
  • Try to make eye contact with drivers so that you know they have seen you.
  • Ride assertively, away from the gutter. If the road is too narrow for vehicles to pass you safely, it may be better to ride in the middle of the lane to prevent dangerous overtaking.
  • Ride in a straight line past parked cars, rather than dodge between them, and allow at least a full door's width between you in case the doors are suddenly opened.
  • Wait in front of other vehicles at traffic lights. Use the advanced stop line for cyclists if there is one.
  • Don't ride through red traffic lights. You may be fined £30.
  • Use appropriate hand signals when making a left or right turn.
  • Wear bright clothing in the day and reflective clothing or accessories at night.
  • Use lights after dark; white at the front and red at the rear. You may be fined £30 if you don't have them.
  • Consider wearing a helmet.

Keep up to date with your knowledge of the Highway Code and follow its advice.

Highway code rules for cyclists »

London's cycle hire scheme

London's cycle hire scheme

AA advice to drivers

Cyclists have the same rights on the road and as a driver you should remember that you are sharing the road with cyclists.

Cyclists are more vulnerable than car users – take particular care near cyclists and give them plenty of room at all times.

  • Expect cyclists in unexpected places – always check your mirrors for cyclists before turning.
  • If you're uncertain as to the intention of another road user – including cyclists – hold back rather than risk a wrong assumption.
  • Watch out for cyclists coming up on your near side when turning left or moving over to the left – check mirrors and blind spots carefully.
  • Give as much room as practically possible when over-taking a cycle – Highway Code Rule 163 illustrates one car's width – they may have to move out to avoid hazards like drains, potholes or debris on the road that you may not be able to see.
  • When parking check the door mirror and look behind you before you open the door to make sure you don't hit a cyclist.
  • When turning left allow any cyclist ahead of you to pass the junction rather than overtake them and turn sharply across their front wheel.
  • Don't overtake a cyclist if you can see that the road narrows ahead – if they're travelling faster than you think you could end up squeezing them off the road.
  • Don't drive aggressively around cyclists or sound your horn
  • Cyclists may be travelling faster than you think (could be 20mph plus) – judge their approaching speed with care before pulling out at a junction.
  • Take special care on roundabouts – you must give way to any vehicle approaching from the right and that includes cyclists.
  • Be prepared to wait behind a cyclist turning right in the same way you would for a car – rather than squeezing past or getting impatient.
  • Don't park in cycle lanes – you could be forcing a cyclist into a dangerous situation and will be committing a road traffic offence if you drive or park in a cycle lane marked with a solid white line.
  • Don't drive into the 'advanced stop area' for cyclists at lights – it is against the Highway Code.
  • Match your speed to the conditions and make sure you will be able to stop well within the distance that you can see to be clear – on country roads there could be a group of cyclists, a horse rider or pedestrians around the next bend.
  • At night, use dipped headlights when approaching cyclists as you would when approaching any other road user.
  • Allow cyclists extra room in wet weather as surfaces will be wet and slippery.
  • Consider riding a bicycle for some of your own journeys to get a better understanding of the risks cyclists face.

Keep up to date with your knowledge of the Highway Code and follow its advice.

Highway code general rules for drivers »

Advanced stop lines

(Highway code 178)

Advanced stop lines

Advanced stop lines

Some signal-controlled junctions have advanced stop lines to allow cycles to be positioned ahead of other traffic.

Motorists, including motorcyclists, MUST stop at the first white line reached if the lights are amber or red and should avoid blocking the way or encroaching on the marked area at other times, e.g. if the junction ahead is blocked.

If your vehicle has proceeded over the first white line at the time that the signal goes red, you MUST stop at the second white line, even if your vehicle is in the marked area.

Allow cyclists time and space to move off when the green signal shows.

(21 September 2012)

 

Leave room for cyclists at traffic lights

Sign the government e-petition

Please take a minute to sign the petition urging the Prime Minister to pledge that the Government will implement the recommendations in the 'Get Britain Cycling' parliamentary report.

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Sign the Government e-petition to implement the 'Get Britain Cycling' recommendations

Chain Reaction

"There has been an explosion of interest in cycling, and we must do all we can to continue to fuel it".  Read AA president Edmund King's views on cycling in the AA Magazine.

Read AA president Edmund King's views on cycling in the AA Magazine

Cities fit for cycling

The AA broadly supports The Times Cities fit for cycling campaign.

 

Read our brief to MPs »

Cities fit for cycling