It is highly recommended that before cycling, you familiarise yourself with the Road Traffic Act of 1988 and the Highway Code rules. The Highway Codes (Rule 59 - 82) are specific to the cyclist using the public roads. Please find below the most frequently asked question about cycling law.
1. Is it legal to cycle on the pavement?
Cycling on a footpath or pavement is not legally allowed.
2. Is wearing a helmet a legal requirement for cycling?
Wearing a helmet (correct size and securely fastened) is highly recommended (Rule 59 for cyclists) for cycling in the UK.
3. Can I use a mobile phone while cycling?
It is not against the law to use a mobile phone while cycling. However, it will still be considered dangerous, and you are likely to be pulled over for cycling “without due care and attention” if you are found to be texting while cycling.
4. Can I drink and cycle?
No. It is illegal to ride your bike if you have consumed alcohol and/or under the influence of prohibited drugs and/or substances.
5. Can I cycle without having a bell?
It is not a legal requirement to have a bell on the cycle.
6. Is it illegal to cycle across a zebra crossing?
Highway Code Rule 79 states that cyclists should “not ride across a pelican, puffin or zebra crossing’ and must ‘dismount and wheel the cycle across” with the exception being Transport for London that allow cyclists to cycle across a zebra crossing if there is a shared-use to either side.
7. Is there a legal minimum age for children to cycle on the road?
There is no minimum age for cycling. However, parents should exercise caution before allowing children to cycle on the road.
8. Is there a minimum age for riding an electronically assisted pedal cycle?
Section 32 of The Road Traffic Act 1988 prohibits the use of an electronically assisted pedal cycle by anyone under 14 years of age. Anyone who rides such an electronically assisted pedal cycle under 14 years of age or, knowing/suspecting that another person is under the age of 14 years, allows him or her to ride such a pedal cycle is guilty of an offense.
9. Can cyclists be done for speeding?
No, but “cycling furiously” is a fineable offence under the 1847 Town Police Clauses Act. The crime of “Wanton and Furious Driving” also applies to cyclists, who could land up to two years in prison for causing bodily harm as a result of this offence.
While you can’t normally be charged for speeding on a bicycle, you could be charged for careless cycling instead.
10. Do cyclists required to have front and rear lights?
All cyclists must have front and rear lights when cycling between sunset and sunrise. You can use flashing lights of 60-240 flashes every minute.
11. Is it legal to ride a bike with headphones?
It is not illegal (but may not be safe) to ride with headphones as it is likely you may not hear the approach of other vehicles and therefore endanger your safety.
12. What about reflectors?
As with lights, the legal requirements for reflectors only apply between sunset and sunrise and include a red rear reflector and four amber pedal reflectors, one at the front and rear of each pedal.
13. Do cyclists have to stop at a red light?
A red traffic light applies to all road users. Jumping a red traffic light is an offence, and police can issue a fixed penalty notice.
14. Is it illegal to carry more than one person on the cycle?
Section 24 of The Road Traffic Act 1988 state that “not more than one person may be carried on a road on a bicycle not propelled by mechanical power unless it is constructed or adopted for the carriage of more than on person”.
15. Do cyclists have to use the allocated cyclist path?
Cyclists are not compelled to; however, they should use “the lanes whenever practical”. When leaving the cyclist’s lane, make sure it is safe to do so, and you must signal to other road users.
16. What about holding onto a moving vehicle whilst cycling?
It is not legal to hold onto a moving vehicle while cycling.
17. Is it illegal to cycle two or more abreast?
It is legal for cyclists to ride two abreast (and never more than two abreast) on the road. However, you should not ride more than two abreast while riding on a narrow road or around the bend.
It’s also courteous to ride single file to allow cars to pass you if it’s safe for them to do so, and you can regroup after the car has gone past.
18. Is it illegal to ride in the middle of the lane?
It is legal to ride in the middle of the lane. You will find it easier to see around and can be seen by other road users in this position.
19. What is a Primary Position?
Cycling in the middle of the lane is called Primary Position.
20. What is a Secondary Position?
Cycling around 30cm – 1m from the kerb is called Secondary Position.
21. What is a Bridleway?
A bridleway or bridlepath is a trail or path used by people riding on horses.
22. Do cyclists have to stay inside a cycle lane?
No. Cyclists can ride in a regular traffic lane if it is safe.
23. Can I cycle on the motorway?
Cycling on the motorway is dangerous and not allowed.
If you have been involved in an accident and need help in making a claim, please contact on 0333 600 9250 or claim online.