What Rights do Cyclists Have on the Road?

When it comes to riding a bike on the road, you may have realised that there are a whole host of issues and problems that could arise as a result of sharing your route with motorists.

Thankfully, there are several cycling laws that exist to protect riders when they’re on their bike in a public place. Often referred to as ‘cyclist’s rights’, these laws give a bike rider protection that can be used to make a cycling accident claim.

In this guide, we’ve shared the rights that cyclists have on the road, as well as the highway code for cyclists that you should be aware of:

What is the highway code for cyclists?

Shortened to the HC, the Highway Code is a document that explains the rules which all road users must follow in the UK. There is a short section for cyclists and if you don’t adhere to the rules, it may be considered as a legal offence.

Amongst some of the rules that you must stick-to when cycling on the road are:

  • Always cycling with front and rear lights that are fully functioning when cycling between sunset and sunrise, along with reflectors.
  • Never cycling without two efficient braking systems.
  • Never cycling in a public space whilst intoxicated or under the influence of drugs (even bridleways!).

Whilst the Highway Code for cyclists outlines the should and shouldn’t-s of cycling, there are certain circumstances in which you may wonder if the bike-related activity that you’re doing is legal. Usually coming in the form of bike riding on a public or busy road, you should keep the following cycling laws in mind:

Riding a bike on the pavement

Contrary to popular belief, cyclists are not allowed to cycle on a pavement in the UK. However, in England, Wales and Scotland, cyclists are permitted to ride their bike on a public bridleway, although you’re advised to give way to horse riders or pedestrians wherever necessary.

Speed limits for cyclists

You may also be surprised to learn that unlike motorists driving a vehicle, bike riders don’t have to stick to any speed limits when driving on a public road.

Whilst this means that you’re free to ride at any speed you like, you should always be careful and stick to a sensible speed to avoid a collision. Remember that reckless cycling could be seen as posing a risk to other people and if spotted, you could see a fine of up to £2,500.

Single-file cycling

When it comes to cycling on a busy road, you may assume that you have to cycle in single file if there’s more than one person in your group. However, cycling side-by-side is perfectly legal on UK roads; single-file cycling is only recommended in The Highway Code when the road is narrow, busy or approaching a bend.

As you can see, there are many rules for cyclists that use the road to get their exercise. Although it’s a generally safe activity, always be aware of your surroundings to avoid being involved in a serious accident and needing to make a cycling accident claim.

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