Think you know the Highway Code?

The majority of these rules are directed at motorists but there are three in particular that a minority of cyclists on London need to be reminded of, and they are:

RULE 64: Rules for cyclists: Cycling on Pavements

You MUST NOT cycle on a pavement.

RULE 69: Rules for cyclists: Traffic Signals

You MUST obey all traffic signs and traffic light signals

and just in case you didn’t get it, that includes…

RULE 71: Rules for cyclists: Traffic Signals

You MUST NOT cross the stop line when the traffic lights are red. Some junctions have an advanced stop line to enable you to wait and position yourself ahead of other traffic (see Rule 178).

That said, although motorists appear to be very familiar with their own interpretation of the rules, there are a few things from the highway code that some drivers (in London at least) seem to have forgotten, or more likely never knew…

RULE 72: Rules for cyclists: Turning Right at Road Junctions

On the right. If you are turning right, check the traffic to ensure it is safe, then signal and move to the centre of the road. Wait until there is a safe gap in the oncoming traffic and give a final look before completing the turn. It may be safer to wait on the left until there is a safe gap or to dismount and push your cycle across the road.

RULE 140: Cycle Lanes: You MUST NOT drive or park in a cycle lane

Cycle lanes. These are shown by road markings and signs. You MUST NOT drive or park in a cycle lane marked by a solid white line during its times of operation. Do not drive or park in a cycle lane marked by a broken white line unless it is unavoidable. You MUST NOT park in any cycle lane whilst waiting restrictions apply.

RULE 147: General Advice: Be considerate

Be considerate. Be careful of and considerate towards all types of road users, especially those requiring extra care (see Rule 204). You should

  • try to be understanding if other road users cause problems; they may be inexperienced or not know the area well
  • be patient; remember that anyone can make a mistake
  • not allow yourself to become agitated or involved if someone is behaving badly on the road. This will only make the situation worse. Pull over, calm down and, when you feel relaxed, continue your journey
  • slow down and hold back if a road user pulls out into your path at a junction. Allow them to get clear. Do not over-react by driving too close behind to intimidate them
  • not throw anything out of a vehicle, for example, cigarette ends, cans, paper or carrier bags. This can endanger other road users, particularly motorcyclists and cyclists

RULE 151: Overtaking: Give vulnerable road users at least as much space as you would a car

In slow-moving traffic. You should

  • reduce the distance between you and the vehicle ahead to maintain traffic flow
  • never get so close to the vehicle in front that you cannot stop safely
  • leave enough space to be able to manoeuvre if the vehicle in front breaks down or an emergency vehicle needs to get past
  • not change lanes to the left to overtake
  • allow access into and from side roads, as blocking these will add to congestion
  • be aware of cyclists and motorcyclists who may be passing on either side

RULE 163: Overtaking: Give vulnerable road users at least as much space as you would a car

Overtake only when it is safe and legal to do so.

You should:

  • not get too close to the vehicle you intend to overtake
  • use your mirrors, signal when it is safe to do so, take a quick sideways glance if necessary into the blind spot area and then start to move out
  • not assume that you can simply follow a vehicle ahead which is overtaking; there may only be enough room for one vehicle
  • move quickly past the vehicle you are overtaking, once you have started to overtake. Allow plenty of room. Move back to the left as soon as you can but do not cut in
  • take extra care at night and in poor visibility when it is harder to judge speed and distance
  • give way to oncoming vehicles before passing parked vehicles or other obstructions on your side of the road
  • only overtake on the left if the vehicle in front is signalling to turn right, and there is room to do so
  • stay in your lane if traffic is moving slowly in queues. If the queue on your right is moving more slowly than you are, you may pass on the left
  • give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car

RULE 165: Overtaking: You must not overtake if you have to enter a bicycle or bus lane

You MUST NOT overtake

  • if you would have to cross or straddle double white lines with a solid line nearest to you (but see Rule 129)
  • if you would have to enter an area designed to divide traffic, if it is surrounded by a solid white line
  • the nearest vehicle to a pedestrian crossing, especially when it has stopped to let pedestrians cross
  • if you would have to enter a lane reserved for buses, trams or cycles during its hours of operation
  • after a ‘No Overtaking’ sign and until you pass a sign cancelling the restriction

RULE 167: Overtaking: DO NOT overtake where you might come into conflict with other road users.

For example

  • approaching or at a road junction on either side of the road
  • where the road narrows
  • when approaching a school crossing patrol
  • between the kerb and a bus or tram when it is at a stop
  • where traffic is queuing at junctions or road works
  • when you would force another road user to swerve or slow down
  • at a level crossing
  • when a road user is indicating right, even if you believe the signal should have been cancelled. Do not take a risk; wait for the signal to be cancelled
  • stay behind if you are following a cyclist approaching a roundabout or junction, and you intend to turn left
  • when a tram is standing at a kerbside tram stop and there is no clearly marked passing lane for other traffic

RULE 178: Junctions controlled by traffic lights: Do Not unnecessarily encroach on the cyclists’ waiting area

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 show.

RULE 182: Turning left: Do Not Cut In On Cyclists

Use your mirrors and give a left-turn signal well before you turn left. Do not overtake just before you turn left and watch out for traffic coming up on your left before you make the turn, especially if driving a large vehicle. Cyclists, motorcyclists and other road users in particular may be hidden from your view.

RULE 183: Turning left: Give way to cyclists

When turning:

• keep as close to the left as is safe and practicable
give way to any vehicles using a bus lane, cycle lane or tramway from either direction

RULE 211: Road users requiring extra care: Look out for cyclists or motorcyclists on the inside of the traffic you are crossing

It is often difficult to see motorcyclists and cyclists, especially when they are coming up from behind, coming out of junctions, at roundabouts, overtaking you or filtering through traffic. Always look out for them before you emerge from a junction; they could be approaching faster than you think. When turning right across a line of slow-moving or stationary traffic, look out for cyclists or motorcyclists on the inside of the traffic you are crossing. Be especially careful when turning, and when changing direction or lane. Be sure to check mirrors and blind spots carefully.

RULE 212: Road users requiring extra care: Give cyclists plenty of room

When passing motorcyclists and cyclists, give them plenty of room (see Rules 162-167). If they look over their shoulder it could mean that they intend to pull out, turn right or change direction. Give them time and space to do so.

Rule 239: Parking: Check before opening your door

Use off-street parking areas, or bays marked out with white lines on the road as parking places, wherever possible. If you have to stop on the roadside

  • do not park facing against the traffic flow
  • stop as close as you can to the side
  • do not stop too close to a vehicle displaying a Blue Badge: remember, the occupant may need more room to get in or out
  • you MUST switch off the engine, headlights and fog lights
  • you MUST apply the handbrake before leaving the vehicle
  • you MUST ensure you do not hit anyone when you open your door. Check for cyclists or other traffic
  • it is safer for your passengers (especially children) to get out of the vehicle on the side next to the kerb
  • put all valuables out of sight and make sure your vehicle is secure
  • lock your vehicle

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