Cyclists can empathize with drivers as many also have cars and the road knowledge that comes with it. Drivers are less likely to understand and appreciate the struggles cyclists experience. The most important thing is that all road users can commute safely. Listed below are some of the most significant things to remember that may help you be a more considerate road user, be it via cycling, driving, walking or other.
Best practice for cyclists
- Safety wear. As a cyclist it is important to make sure that you are visible. It is law to have lights on the front and back of your bike. It is also advised that you wear luminous clothing, reflective gear and a helmet to protect you from injury.
- Cycle lanes, no pavement. It is actually illegal to ride your bike on the pavement but there is no legal obligation to use cycle lanes over the road, although it is strongly advised. Cycle lanes separate you from the traffic, giving you more space and less risk.
- Etiquette – Although it is less common, some cyclists aren’t safely using the roads or taking into account other road users. As a cyclist, make sure to have lights, indicate and consider drivers. Keep both hands on the handlebars, both feet on pedals, stay in single file on busy roads, don’t tailgate cars or other cyclists, be considerate of other road users including pedestrians. These are mainly common sense but would definitely help improve the reputation of cyclists.
- You are legally obliged to follow The Highway Code rules aimed at cyclists. This includes waiting at red traffic lights, stopping at junctions especially stop signs, don’t ride more than two abreast and it is recommended that you have a bell fitted.
- It is recommended to signal before manoeuvring, indicating to other road users your intentions. Use your arm to point in the direction you’re planning to turn and check over your shoulder before making any sudden movements.
- You wouldn’t drive tired or dizzy so don’t ride if you’re not feeling well and take a break if you’re getting tired. There is also a penalty applicable for cyclists riding under the influence.
Best course of action for drivers
- Cyclists are advised to ride a good distance from the pavement. A cyclist is more at risk on the road so allow them the distance they need. As a driver please be considerate of wobbles or swerves to avoid obstructions on the road.
- There’s no obligation for cyclists to use cycle lanes or tracks, they are there for optional use but can be used to improve a cyclist’s journey time and risk.
- Cyclists are going faster than you think, the average cycle pace is 15mph. Overtake when safe and appropriate but know that it won’t significantly impact your journey to stay behind them.
- If more people chose to ride bikes over driving, this would reduce journey times, as less cars would mean less traffic. Those cycle commuters are actually reducing the number of cars on the road and thus reducing your journey time.
- Cycling side-by-side is not illegal, a rider is advised to reduce to single file when busy or necessary but cycling side by side can be safer for riders and actually makes overtaking easier for drivers instead of having to overtake a long line of single file cyclists.
- Make sure to check your mirrors for cyclists before making turns or opening car doors, cyclists could be considerably hurt if hit.
- An experienced road cyclists could be going up to 25mph, consider this when pulling out of junctions as the cyclist may reach it a lot sooner than you think.
Finally, have you got any tips or advice to add? Let us know!
Hopefully this has been a useful insight into the other perspective and maybe we can all be a little more considerate when out on the roads. If you have anything to add, experience, tips or other – then we would love to hear from you.