Cyclists and drivers are asked to be considerate of each other on the roads


As the days get longer and warmer, Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership is asking both cyclists and drivers to check their knowledge of the Highway Code to ensure they understand their responsibilities to be considerate of each other on the roads.


There are many good drivers and experienced cyclists in Warwickshire who know how to look out for each other to keep each other safe and we’d like everyone to follow their example.


Sergeant Shaun Bridle said “Good drivers are patient and wait behind a cyclist until it is safe to pass them. But we also receive reports from cyclists of drivers putting lives at risk by squeezing past cyclists when it is not safe to do so.  This is not acceptable. Drivers should wait until the road is clear, there are no obstructions, and it is safe to pass and allow at least 1.5metres when overtaking a cyclist. 


The new Highway Code ‘Hierarchy of Road Users’ places those road users most at risk in the event of a collision including cyclists at the top of the hierarchy.  This makes it clear that drivers and motorcyclists have the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce the danger they pose to cyclists and other vulnerable road users.

However, it does not remove the need for everyone to behave responsibly.


Sergeant Bridle continued “Cyclists need to be considerate of motorists who are trying to pass them, by moving from a more central ‘Primary’ road position (deterring a close pass) to a Secondary road position to invite a vehicle to pass.  If there is insufficient room they should stop when safe to do so to allow faster road users to pass them.   This is Rule 66 in The Highway Code. 


“It’s really important that all road users understand that they must consider each other and do what they can to keep each other safe on the roads.”


This is a great video from Cycling UK that shows the road positioning basics for cyclists.  It’s worth watching if you are a driver too.


Guidance for drivers and motorcyclists:-

  • Leave at least 1.5 metres or 5 feet when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph and give them more space when overtaking at higher speeds.
  • On roundabouts give priority to people cycling. You should not attempt to overtake people cycling within that person’s lane and allow people cycling to move across your path as they travel around the roundabout. Remember people cycling may stay in the left-hand lane of a roundabout when they intend to continue across or around the roundabout.
  • Stay behind if you are following a cyclist approaching a roundabout or junction, and you intend to turn left.
  • Drivers or motorcyclists wanting to turn either left or right should not cut across cyclists going straight ahead when you are turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane. The rule applies whether the cyclist is using a cycle lane, a cycle track or is on the road ahead
  • Check for cyclists when opening your car door by using the dutch reach. For example, drivers should use their left hand to open a door on their right-hand side. This will make them turn their head to look over their shoulder behind them.


Guidance for cyclists:-

  • The Highway Code has issued updated advice about safe road positioning for cyclists. It’s appropriate to ride in the centre of the lane on quiet roads, in slower moving traffic and at the approach to junctions or road narrowings.
  • Cyclists should keep at least 0.5m (approx 1.5 feet) away from the kerb edge and further where it is safer when riding on busy roads with faster moving vehicles
  • Cyclists should take care when passing parked vehicles leaving enough room to avoid being hit if a car door is opened. Watch out for pedestrians.
  • The advice around cycling straight ahead at a junction has also been clarified in the Highway Code to make riding safer. Cyclists riding straight ahead have priority over traffic turning into or out of a side junction, unless road signs or markings indicate otherwise.  However, cyclists still need to watch out for drivers who may not have seen them.
  • When someone is waiting to cross the road at a junction, or has started crossing, traffic including cyclists, should give way to them.
  • If a pedestrian is crossing at a zebra crossing, cyclists must give way.
  • Cyclists may pass slower moving or stationary traffic on either the left or right. Ride cautiously when overtaking large vehicles or when approaching junctions
  • in shared spaces, cyclists should give way to walkers and horse riders
  • Cyclists should slow down when necessary and let people walking know they are there for example by saying hello or ringing their bell
  • Always remember that pedestrians may be deaf, blind, or partially sighted
  • Cyclists should not pass walkers, horse riders or horse-drawn vehicles closely or at high speed especially from behind.
  • Do not pass a horse on the horse’s left.


Cyclists riding two abreast can be a subject of heated debate, but the updated Highway Code advises that cyclists may ride two abreast as long as they are considerate of other road users:


Highway Code Rule 66: …be considerate of the needs of other road users when riding in groups. You can ride two abreast and it can be safer to do so, particularly in larger groups or when accompanying children or less experienced riders. Be aware of drivers behind you and allow them to overtake (for example, by moving into single file or stopping) when you feel it is safe to let them do so


Please also consider that bright clothing, and reflective goods can make a huge difference to your visibility especially when cycling at night or in the winter months and although wearing a helmet isn’t a legal requirement, there are real safety benefits to wearing one.  It is also a legal requirement to use cycle lights and reflectors between sunset and sunrise.


Please help improve road safety in Warwickshire by reporting and submitting digital footage showing potential moving traffic offences to Warwickshire Police via Operation Snap. This can range from driving dangerously or carelessly to overtaking on solid white lines, using a mobile phone while driving, ignoring traffic lights or dangerous driving around other road users, such as horse riders and cyclists. Your submission will be reviewed by one of our road traffic police officers. Click here for more information


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