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Cycling Laws – Test Your Knowledge

Caught up with news on Road.cc recently? Then you might have seen this article, which talks about and shows a video of a policeman stopping two cyclists for riding two abreast.

Whilst the cyclists captured in this dash cam footage seem to know the rules of the highway code, it’s obvious that not everyone is totally clued up on what is, and what isn’t allowed…

So, we wanted to know…how much do you know about the laws of cycling?

Take our ‘Legal Or Illegal?’ quiz to test your knowledge…and don’t forget to share this with your family and friends…even if they’re not cyclists…it’s always good for people who don’t ride to be as clued up as possible!


#1 Riding Two Abreast

Cycling Laws: Riding Two Abreast Is Legal



Legal Or Illegal?


Although many people (particularly motorists!) think it is illegal, riding two abreast (two people riding next to each other) is perfectly acceptable, and can be a lot safer for both cyclists and motorists. However, riding more than two abreast is not allowed, and cyclists should ride in a single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends.




#2 Riding Through Traffic Lights

Riding Through Traffic Lights Is Illegal
The Daily Mail reported that more than 11,000 cyclists broke the law in one year



Legal Or Illegal?


The same rules apply for motorist and cyclist alike – if you go through a red light, you’re breaking the law. The Highway code says “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.”




#3 Riding Without A Helmet

Riding Without A Helmet Is Legal



Legal Or Illegal?


Although the highway code advises cyclists to wear it a helmet, you won’t be breaking the law should you decide not to wear one. However, we always recommend wearing a helmet as they really can protect you should the worst happen. Just check out our blog on MIPS Helmets, to see for yourself.




#4 Riding Across A Zebra Crossing

Riding Across A Zebra Crossing Is Illegal



Legal Or Illegal?


Cycling across a zebra crossing is not allowed – these crossings are intended for pedestrian use only, so you’ll need to get off of your bike and wheel it over. However, you’re perfectly fine to cycle over a toucan crossing as these are for use by both pedestrians and cyclists.




#5 Riding Without Lights When Dark



Legal Or Illegal?


Making sure you’re seen is obviously very important and you are legally obliged to have your white front lights, and rear red lights lit between sunrise and sunset. The highway code also claims that your bike “MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1/10/85)”

Need a good set of lights? Check these out!




#6 Riding Under The Influence Of Drink Or Drugs

Cycling and beer - is it allowed?



Legal Or Illegal?

Not totally illegal, but not a great idea…

Because you’re riding a bike as opposed to operating a ‘mechanically propelled’ vehicle, cyclists do not have to follow the same ‘drink and drive’ rules that motorists must adhere to.

That being said, being under the influence of alcohol or drugs can count as careless or inconsiderate cycling, which could land you with a fine of up to £2500. Section 30 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, says, “‘It is an offence for a person to ride a cycle on a road or other public place when unfit to ride through drink or drugs.’

Your best bet? Don’t ‘drink and ride!’




#7 Riding In The Middle Of A Lane

Riding In The Middle Of The Road



Legal Or Illegal?


Riding in the middle of the lane, or more commonly known as the ‘primary position’ is absolutely fine – and can sometimes be a safer option for cyclists. You should ‘take the road’ (stick to the middle of the lane) in various situations, like when you’re riding past parked cars where doors could open suddenly, when you’re approaching a roundabout or when the road is very narrow, and cars would not be able to overtake safely.

That being said, most of the time cyclists should aim to be riding the ‘secondary position’ – roughly 50cm to 1m from the kerb.




#8 Riding & Using A Phone

Cycling on the phone



Legal Or Illegal?

Not totally illegal, but not a great idea…

According to the Road Vehicles Regulations, it is only an illegal to use a mobile phone whilst operating a motor vehicle, which means cyclists are semi exempt from this rule.

However, you can still be pulled over by the police for a “careless or inconsiderate cycling” offence if you’re riding is deemed to be dangerous…in other words it’s probably best to use your phone when you’re not riding!




#9 Riding In A Bus Lane

Riding In A Bus Lane



Legal Or Illegal?


Unlike motorists, cyclists are allowed to ride in most bus lanes during hours of operation – this will be indicated on signs. Make sure to always take extra care when overtaking a bus and never pass between the kerb and the bus when it is at a stop!




So, how did you get on?

1 – 6 Correct: Oh dear…we’ll just leave this here! Highway Code: Rules For Cyclists

7 – 9 Correct: Not bad! You know your stuff! 🙂

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