12 Mar What Are The Laws On Sharing The Road With Cyclists?
We are constantly reminded of the importance of staying fit and healthy, while also trying to care for the environment and reduce our carbon footprint. Many people are making small alternations to their lifestyles by changing how they get to and from work. As such, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of cyclists on the roads.
However, it can be confusing to drive alongside cyclists, particularly if you’re not used to it or the roads are narrow.
That’s why we’ve put together this summary of the laws surrounding sharing the road with cyclists.
Follow The Highway Code
The Highway Code is the go-to guide for the rules of the road for drivers and cyclists alike. It’s in this book that you will find all the regulations you need to know about road usage.
As it stands, there are three distinct rules for drivers who are sharing the road with cyclists. These are Rule 140, Rule 162 and Rule 163.
Rule 140 refers to cycle lanes and prohibits cars or other 4 wheel vehicles from entering into them during operating hours if they have a solid white line. If there is a broken white line, you should only drive in the lane if it is absolutely necessary e.g. there are road works.
Rule 162 governs the rules regarding overtaking on the road. It generally refers to any type of overtaking and any vehicle. It states that when overtaking, it is necessary to overtake only on clear roads and when there is a suitable gap in front of the road user you are planning to overtake.
Rule 163 elaborates on Rule 162, and it explicitly states to ‘give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car.
‘ You shouldn’t prolong overtaking the cyclist, and once you’ve passed them and are a safe distance ahead, you must move back over into your lane.
Be aware of your blind spots
All cars have blind spots, and it is your responsibility as a driver to be aware of where your blind spots are and be particularly vigilant if you notice a cyclist going into yours.
Sharing the road with cyclists shouldn’t be as nerve-wracking as many people find it to be. Once you are aware of how to react to hazards or uncertainties, you will be fine.
Allow extra room for cyclists in wet and windy weather
Cyclists are a lot more vulnerable to extreme weather than drivers because they are exposed to the elements.
If you are driving in windy or wet weather, take particular care when sharing the road with cyclists. Just as road traction lessens for cars when the road is wet, it also becomes more slippy for cyclists.
When driving in windy weather, be aware that a sudden gust of strong wind could throw a cyclist off their path.
If you remain extra vigilant and allow extra room between your car and the cyclist, driving alongside cyclists will be hassle free.
Be patient at traffic lights and junctions
Many modern sets of traffic lights provide dedicated spaces for cyclists to stop in front of cars.
This provides them with the opportunity to take off first when the light goes green. Allow the cyclist ahead of you plenty of time to take off and be patient. Move off only when there is a safe distance between you and them.
You would not overtake a car at traffic lights, so don’t overtake a cyclist.
Cars are fitted with indicators so that you can alert other road users to your next intended move.
You can signal left or right and road users behind you know when you are going to turn, slow down or stop.
Cyclists have to physically use their arms to signify their intended movements.
Always be cautious behind cyclists, even when they have not indicated left or right. Hand signals can sometimes be confused or forgotten, so don’t assume anything about any other road users.
Sharing the road with cyclists is not entirely dissimilar to sharing the road with other drivers or motorcyclists.
If you remain vigilant, follow the rules of the road and expect the unexpected, you will not find yourself nervous when confronted with a cyclist.
Just remember that cyclists are much more vulnerable road users than cars and even motorbikes, so give them extra room and be patient!