Cycling on the road

All road users have equal rights to use the highway safely. We have put together some advice for cyclists using the road and for drivers when interacting with cyclists.

Download advice for cycling on the road

Make eye contact

Always try to make eye contact with other road users to make sure you have been seen. Keep an eye on the wheels of the vehicle to help you spot when the vehicle is starting to move.

Look around you

Check what is happening around you at all times. Look well ahead for obstructions in the road, such as drains, potholes and parked vehicles, so that you do not have to swerve suddenly to avoid them. Check over your shoulders too. Planning ahead helps to keep you safe on the road.

Listen

Make sure you can hear the traffic around you; don’t use headphones. Some large vehicles have warnings to tell you they are turning left.

Don’t be floored by doors

Leave plenty of room (1.5m) when passing parked vehicles. Always watch out for doors being opened into your path.

Ride on the road, not in the gutter

Ride at least 0.75m away from the kerb so drivers can see you and to avoid drain covers and other debris in the gutter. It’s safer to ride in the middle of your traffic lane (the primary position) if there’s not enough room for a car to overtake you.

Make your intentions clear

Signal well in advance, and only manoeuvre when it is safe to do so. Stop signalling when you make your turn.

Stay back

Drivers of lorries and other large vehicles might not be able to see you clearly, so stay well back behind them. If you cycle on the left-hand side of a lorry you are in the driver’s blind spot. If the lorry turns, it is difficult for drivers of large vehicles to see you. Stay well back and ensure that you can see the lorry’s mirrors – then the driver can see you.

If you need to overtake a large vehicle in a stationary queue, only do so on the right hand side and when it's clear the vehicle won’t suddenly begin to move. Only overtake when there is no oncoming traffic and move ahead of the vehicle and ensure you are visible to the driver.

Large vehicles tend to move to the right before swinging into a left turn. Do not ride along their left side.

Avoid blind spots

Lorries have blind spots in front of the cab, on both sides and behind the vehicle. Be aware of these and don’t ride or stop anywhere where the driver may not be able to see you.

Lights and being seen

By law, when it is dark or there is bad visibility you must have lights on the front and rear of your bike. Always carry spare small lights or batteries and make sure you wear hi-visibility or contrasting coloured clothing.

Remember, fluorescent by day and reflective at night.

Cycle training

Training can improve your confidence when cycling on the roads and can help you to position yourself correctly on the road and around other vehicles.