The Highway Code
How to follow The Highway Code when you are cycling.
The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales. This is a summary of information which applies specifically to cyclists.
Cyclists and the law
It's against the law for cyclists (unless signage states otherwise) to:
- Jump red lights
- Cycle on pavements
- Cycle the wrong way up a one way street
- Ride across a pedestrian crossing.
You and your bicycle
It is recommended that you fit a bell to your bike.
You MUST ensure your brakes are efficient.
Always make sure you have use of lit front and rear lights and have a red rear reflector.
Be sure that:
- You feel confident of your ability
- You choose the right size and type of cycle
- Your lights and reflectors are kept clean
- All tyres are in good condition and property inflated
- Gears and chain are working correctly
- Your saddle and handlebars are at the correct height.
The Highway Code states that at night:
- Your bike MUST have white front and red rear lights lit
- Your bike MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1 October 1985
- White front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen
- Flashing lights are permitted but it is recommended that cyclists who are riding in areas without street lighting use a steady front lamp.
You MUST NOT cycle on a pavement.
Traffic signs and traffic light signals
You MUST obey all traffic signs and traffic light signals.
You MUST NOT cross the stop line when the traffic lights are red. Some junctions have an advanced stop line to enable you to wait and position yourself ahead of other traffic (see Rule 178).
Cycle routes and other facilities
Cyclists should use cycle routes, advanced stop lines, cycle boxes and toucan crossings unless at the time it is unsafe to do so.
Use of these facilities is not compulsory and will depend on your experience and skills, but they can make your journey safer.
When using segregated cycle tracks you MUST keep to the side intended for cyclists as the pedestrian side remains a pavement or footpath.
Take care when passing pedestrians.
Always be prepared to slow down and stop if necessary.
Take care near road junctions as you may have difficulty seeing other road users, who might not notice you.
Cycle lanes are marked by a white line along the carriageway (see Rule 140).
Please keep within the cycle lane when practicable.
When leaving a cycle lane check before pulling out that it is safe to do so and signal your intention clearly to other road users.
Use of cycle lanes is not compulsory and will depend on your experience and skills, but they can make your journey safer.
Parking your cycle
When parking your cycle you should:
- Find a conspicuous location where it can be seen by passers-by
- Use cycle stands or other cycle parking facilities wherever possible
- Do not leave it where it would cause an obstruction or hazard to other road users.
You should wear:
- A cycle helmet which conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and securely fastened
- Appropriate clothes for cycling. Avoid clothes which may get tangled in the chain, or in a wheel or may obscure your lights
- Light-coloured or fluorescent clothing to help others to see you
- Reflective clothing and/or accessories (belt, arm or ankle bands) in the dark.
Find out more
Read the Highway Code: www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code