Drive Safe, Cycle Safe
Motorists and cyclists both have a right to use Britain's roads - a right to safe and enjoyable travel. Both share a responsibility to understand each other's needs - and to respond positively.
This information aims to make motorists and cyclists more aware of one another, and to counter the intolerance that can develop between them - in short, to establish a climate of mutual courtesy and care
What cyclists would like motorists to know
- Cyclists are more vulnerable than motorists - drivers have the major responsibility to take care. Rain, wind and poor visibility make conditions worse for cyclists.
- Cyclists can feel threatened by inconsiderate driving. They have a right to space on the road and need extra room at junctions and roundabouts where cars change speed, position and direction.
Cyclists ride away from the kerb, not to annoy motorists but to:
- avoid drains, potholes and debris
- be seen as they come to junctions with side roads
- discourage drivers from squeezing past when it's too narrow
- Cyclists turning right are exposed - and need extra consideration from motorists, especially on multi-lane roads with fast-moving traffic.
- Cyclists can be forced into faster traffic - by vehicles parked in cycle lanes, at junctions or on double yellow lines.
- Cyclists are dazzled by full-beam headlights, like everyone else.
- Cyclists can be fast movers - 20mph or more.
What motorists can do
- Think bike. Expect to see cyclists, and take care.
Slow down and drive smoothly. Keep within speed limits. Expect sudden movements by cyclists, especially in windy weather and on bad road surfaces.
Signal: always at roundabouts and every time you pass a cyclist
Watch for riders on the inside when you turn left. Don't cut them up.
- Give cyclists space - at least half a car's width - and never force past them. Be patient - a few seconds for a cyclist hardly affects your total journey time.
- Right-turning cyclists need space and time.
- Park considerately. Always look for cyclists before opening a car door.
- Use dipped headlights.
- Expect speed from bikes. Think of a bike as a vehicle - it is.
What motorists would like cyclists to know
- Motorists get upset if cyclists ride without lights at night, ignore red traffic lights or hop on and off the pavement.
- Motorists usually travel faster than cyclists and may have less time to take account of hazards.
- Motorists may not always see cyclists.
- Motorists are made uneasy when cyclists seem hesitant, move out suddenly or wobble around potholes.
- Motorists can feel delayed by cyclist.
- Motorists don't always understand that some road surfaces, junctions or traffic conditions cause problems for cyclists.
What cyclists can do
Follow the Highway Code.
- Don't jump red lights
- ride on pavements (unless they are shared paths)
- ride the wrong way in one-way streets (unless signs say that cyclists are permitted to do so)
- ride across pedestrian crossings
- Think ahead. Anticipate drivers' actions. Catch their eye.
- Be visible. Ride well clear of the kerb, wear bright clothing, and always use lights after dark or in poor day-time visibility.
- Show drivers what you plan to do. Always look and signal before you start, stop or turn. Ride a straight line past parked cars rather than dodge between them.
- Move over, when it's safe and convenient. Two-abreast is often OK, but try not to hold up other traffic.
- Ride positively and decisively. It helps motorists to understand what you plan to do.
Mutual respect and consideration make for safer and more enjoyable travel. Always acknowledging a courtesy does make a difference.