Many cyclists in the UK are unaware that the highway code covers cycling too. Cyclists are traffic and must abide by the rules of the road just like any other motorist. The cycling highway code covers most scenarios a cyclist is likely to encounter, it also debunks certain myths too. Many of these points are covered in the Bikeability course. This is part one of two.

Highway Code Cycling Section (Rules 59 to 70) highway code

Rule 59 – Clothing

  • Riders should wear a cycling helmet that is the correct size for them which also conforms to current regulations. Cycling helmets are not a legal requirement in the UK at present.
  • Cyclists should wear adequate clothing;  eg clothes which won’t become tangled in the chain or wheels as well as obstruct rear lights or reflectors. Riders should avoid wearing dark clothes if riding at night.
  • It is recommended that riders wear light or reflective clothing which makes it easier to be seen in poor lighting conditions as well as at night.
  • Reflective accessories such as arm bands, belt or ankle bands are also recommended.

Rule 60 – Lighting and Reflectors

When riding at night cyclists MUST

  • Have a working front white light and a rear red light
  • Have a rear reflector (as well as amber pedal reflectors if manufactured after 1st October 1985). It is also recommended to have a front white reflector as well as spoke reflectors.

Many riders choose to use two lights at the front, one flashing and one on permanent, there is nothing on the cycling highway code which says you can’t, the same can be said for the rear light.

Rule 61 – Cycle Routes and other Facilities

Cyclists may use advanced stop lines, cycle boxes and cycle routes as long as it is safe to do so. Whilst using a cycle route may make the journey safer, it is NOT COMPULSORY. Cyclists can opt for using cycle paths but are entitled to cycle on the road too. This is down to personal choice based on confidence and ability.

Rule 62 – Cycle Tracks

Cycle tracks tend to be located away from roads and footpaths. Unsegregated footpaths are areas where cyclists and pedestrians share the same space, these areas are clearly signed. Segregated footpaths are areas clearly marked where cyclists should ride on and where pedestrians should walk on. When using a segregated area, cyclists are reminded to take extra care of pedestrians, especially children and disabled. Cyclists should be prepared to slow down and allow plenty of space when going past pedestrians. Riders must be extra vigilant when coming to the end of cycling tracks and joining/ crossing the road onto another track.

Rule 63 – Cycle Lanes

Cycle lanes are marked by either solid or broken white lines and are usually located next to the carriageway. It is NOT COMPULSORY for cyclists to use a cycle lane, it is down to personal choice.

Rule 64 (short and concise)

You MUST NOT ride on the pavement. Read what the legislation says about riding on the pavement, click HERE.

Rule 65 – Bus Lanes

The majority of bus lanes are available for cyclists too, this is clearly signed.

Rule 66 Good Practices

This rule refers to things cyclists SHOULD do….

  • Riders should not ride more than two abreast
  • Ride in single file on narrow, busy, lanes or when going around a bend
  • Both hands should be kept on the handlebars at all times when riding other than to signal or change gear
  • Not ride close to other vehicles (slipstreaming)
  • Cyclists should not carry any loads which may cause them to lose their balance or get caught in the chain or wheels.
  • Be considerate towards other road users

Rule 67 Good Practices

Here are a number of other good practices which cyclists SHOULD do.

  • Before setting off, riders should take a good look around to make sure it is safe to do so. When executing a maneuver, cyclists should make it clear to other road users including pedestrians what their intentions are by means of hand signals.
  • Keep an eye out for and anticipate road hazards (parked vehicles, road works, pedestrian crossings etc etc).
  • Be aware of traffic moving in the same direction which may sneak up from behind.
  • Take care when overtaking stationary or slow moving vehicles.

Rule 68 – Cyclists MUST NOT

  • Carry passengers unless bicycle has been built or adapted to carry passengers.
  • Hold onto a moving vehicle (this includes trailers too).
  • Ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs (this includes certain medicines too).
  • Ride in a dangerous, careless, uncourteous or in a way which may put the rider or other road users in danger.

Rule 69 –  Cyclists MUST

  • Obey all road signs including ALL traffic lights and signals

Rule 70 – Parking

  • Park in a public area where people will see it and not hidden away(easier to steak when hidden).
  • When available use cycle stands or any other facility provided to park bicycles.
  • Do not leave it where it may cause obstruction or become a hazard.
  • Park it well secured so it is harder to steal as well as protected from falling and becoming an obstruction.

These are the rules from 59 to 70 out of the cycling section of the highway code; watch out for part two,sections 71 to 82