Road position and general driving
Concentrate on your driving and do not use your mobile phone. Avoid loud noise in the car.
Cycling feels hazardous when drivers are too close, so give cyclists plenty of space and be patient.
Expect cyclists to move out in the road to avoid potholes/drains or to be seen by oncoming traffic or vehicles waiting at junctions.
Even if there is a cycle path or cycle lane, sometimes cyclists need to be on another part of the road to make a turn or to make themselves visible.
Always look for cyclists, especially at junctions. Look out for all types of cyclist (not every cyclist will be wearing hi-visibility clothing).
Always check your mirrors and blind spot for cyclists, whether you are stationary or moving.
Legally, a cyclist can use the entire lane and will often take a mid-lane position to deter overtaking by vehicles at particularly vulnerable locations, for example where the road narrows, junctions, and blind bends.
Cyclists may not always give a signal, especially mid-junction or on a roundabout, as they need both hands for steering and braking.
If you are unsure of a cyclist’s intention, wait for them to make their manoeuvre.
Overtake a cyclist in the same way you would another vehicle.
Plan ahead and wait until the opposite carriageway is clear.
Give cyclists at least 1.5m clearance in slow moving traffic. At higher speeds a full car width’s clearance is recommended.
Do not overtake near a junction, pedestrian crossing , on a roundabout or at pinch points (for example keep left bollards, pedestrian refuges and traffic calming features) NEVER overtake just before a left turn you plan to make.
Do not drive close behind cyclists or sound your horn.
The Highway Code
1.5m is our recommended minimum safe distance for overtaking in slow moving traffic. If you cannot allow the minimum distance, do not overtake until you can. At speeds of 30mph or above, the Highway Code recommends a car width may be needed to overtake safely.
Rule 163 of the Highway Code states “give cyclists at least as much room as you would a car when overtaking”.
Rule 212 of the Highway Code states “When passing a cyclist give them plenty of room”. If they look over their shoulder while you are following them it could mean that they may soon attempt to turn right. Give them space and time to do so.
Sharing the road - tips for cyclists
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 behind you.
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.
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’s safe to do so. Stop signalling when you make your turn.
If you need to overtake a large vehicle in a stationary queue, only do so on the righthand side and when it is 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.
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. Visit www.sysrp.co.uk/cycling for information on free courses throughout South Yorkshire.
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