Five Road Laws That Cyclists May Be Unaware Of16th May 2019
Whether you commute on a bicycle every day, or you’ve just taken it out of the shed for the summer, many cyclists are extremely conscious of their safety while out on the road.
After all, cycling on our increasingly busy roads can be perilous.
From heavy traffic to potholes, urban cyclists must have their wits about them – and it involves far more than just wearing a helmet (although this is of course vital, too!). In order to avoid accidents and injury, it’s essential for cyclists to adhere to the Highway Code.
In our previous blog, we discussed the five cycling rules that confuse some drivers. But what about the rules that sometimes confuse cyclists – the true don’ts of the cycling world?
Here’s five of the most common misconceptions regarding cycling and the law.
Can I Ride My Pushbike Through A Red Light?
The answer is no.
As per Rule 71 of the Highway Code, it’s against the law for a vehicle to go through a red light, and this applies to both pushbikes and cars.
There are no exceptions, aside from the fact that some junctions have an advanced stop line to enable cyclists to wait and position themselves ahead of other traffic.
Contrary to popular belief, you should also stop for an amber light – unless you are so close to the stop line that braking might cause a collision.
Can I Cycle Without Lights At Night?
Absolutely not, according to Rule 60 of the Highway Code. When cycling at night, you must use front and rear lights which are lit, clean and working as intended.
If you’re not quite sure which time this would cover, ‘night’ (the hours of darkness) is defined as the period between half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise.
Your bike should be fitted with a white light at the front, and a red light at the rear; as well as amber pedal reflectors, if your bike was manufactured after 1/10/85.
A helmet light doesn’t count, unless it’s used in addition to the required red and white lights, which are fitted in the correct places.
Can I Cycle On The Footpath?
The Highway Code is very clear on this one – Rule 64 states that “You must not cycle on a pavement.”
If there’s no sign to say that it’s a shared footpath, and there’s no cycle path, then it’s strictly for pedestrians.
However, the lines blur somewhat when it comes to children – particularly those under the age of 10. Below the age of criminal responsibility and often not yet able to ride on the road safely, the law will generally take a ‘common sense’ approach to children using the footpath to cycle.
Although still technically illegal, a young child who rides sensibly and courteously on the pavement – particularly when accompanied by an adult on foot - is unlikely to experience opposition.
Can I Cycle Across A Zebra Crossing?
Much like the pavement, zebra crossings are also for pedestrians only.
According to rule 79 of the Highway Code, you may use a zebra crossing with your bike – but only if you dismount and wheel it across (thus essentially becoming a pedestrian yourself).
Unlike zebra, puffin and pelican crossings, a toucan crossing is an exception to the rule. As the ‘two can’ name suggests, these button-controlled traffic lights allow both pedestrians and cyclists to safely cross the road without concern, thanks to their wider lanes.
Can I Give A Passenger A Lift On My Pushbike?
Despite what you may have done as a teenager, giving a friend a lift on your bicycle is actually against the law – unless your bike has been specially adapted to carry a passenger.
According to rule 68 of the Highway Code, cargo bikes and bikes fitted with child seats are an acceptable way to offer transport to a second person; but you can’t just pop somebody on your handlebars!
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