Drivers and cyclists asked to check their knowledge of the Highway Code

dutch reach driver

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 share the road safely.


Inspector Si Paull said “There are many good drivers and experienced cyclists in Warwickshire who know and follow the Highway Code and we’d like everyone to follow their example. 


“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 cyclists’ lives at risk by squeezing past 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 at speeds of up to 30mph, and more space at higher speeds.


“Knowing the 2022 updates to the Highway Code is really important so that all road users understand that they must consider each other and do what they can to safely share the space on the roads.”


Over the summer, some of our SNTs will be carrying out ‘Op Close Pass’ exercises to help educate drivers how to safely overtake cyclists.  Op Close Pass uses plain clothes officers riding bicycles equipped with head cams. Any vehicles failing to leave an appropriate safety margin as they pass will be stopped and offered roadside education to explain the importance of allowing plenty of space when passing cyclists.  However, in the most serious cases, drivers could be prosecuted for careless driving.  


Guidance for drivers:-

  • 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 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 issued updated advice about safe road positioning for cyclists in January 2022. 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. This video from Cycling UK shows the road positioning basics for cyclists.  Drivers should watch it too.
  • 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.
  • Rule 69 You MUSTobey all traffic signs and traffic light signals.
  • 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.


Although wearing a helmet isn’t a legal requirement, there are safety benefits to wearing one.  You may also want to consider wearing bright clothing, and reflective goods as this can make a huge difference to your visibility especially when cycling at night or in the winter months.  And remember it is a legal requirement to use cycle lights and reflectors between sunset and sunrise.


The public can 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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