UK cycling laws

Cycling Laws UK

Is it legal to cycle on the pavement in the UK?

The Highway Code Rule 64 states: You MUST NOT cycle on a pavement.

But in Rule 62 it advises how to behave when cycle tracks are alongside footpaths and pavements.

If the pavement is unsegregated then it says the cyclist should “take care when passing pedestrians, especially children, older or disabled people, and allow them plenty of room”.

And it says the bike user should be prepared to stop or slow down if necessary.

In segregated areas the cyclist must stay on their cycle lane.

Do I have to wear a helmet when I cycle?

There’s no law which states cyclists of any age to wear a helmet.

However, it’s obviously dangerous to cycle without one, and the Highway Code suggests all cyclists wear a safe and well-fitting helmet regardless of what the laws says.

Can I use my mobile phone while cycling?

It’s illegal to drive a motor vehicle while using your phone, but bicycles aren’t motor vehicles, so they’re exempt from this law.

However, texting and cycling is still dangerous, and could see you pulled over for a related “Not Paying Due Care and Attention” offence.

Can I drink and cycle?

Because bikes aren’t “mechanically propelled vehicles”, normal drinking and driving rules don’t apply in the same way to cyclists.

However, riding drunk could still see you slapped with a £2,500 fine, and it’s an offence to cycle “when unfit to ride through drink and drugs.”

What are the other cycling laws I should know about?

  • People assume they are legally required to have a bell if they’re cycling on the roads. However, there are actually no such legal requirements.
  • We recommend that its still useful if you need to alert someone to your presence while out and about.
  • Although it’s not illegal, cyclists should also know that the Highway Code advises against cycling across a zebra crossing.
  • Not a requirement but, we recommend fluorescent clothing which helps other road users to see you in daylight and poor light
  • Cyclists should dismount and wheel their bikes across any pedestrian crossing, according to the Code. There is no legal minimum age for children to cycle on the road – although parents may be held responsible for their cycling kids.
  • And although cyclists can’t be done for speeding, “cycling furiously” is a fine-able 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.
  • You must not carry a passenger unless your cycle has been built or adapted to carry one
  • You must obey all traffic signs and traffic light signals

Can I ride a bike without a brake in the UK?

The Pedal Cycles (and Use) Regulations 1983 make clear that every pedal bike needs two braking systems. So bikes without front and rear brakes aren’t suitable for UK roads.

The Law and Lights on a Bike

At night your cycle MUST have white front and red rear lights lit. It MUSTalso be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1/10/85)

Basic Cycling Advice

  • you choose the right size and type of cycle for comfort and safety
  • lights and reflectors are kept clean and in good working order
  • tyres are in good condition and inflated to the pressure shown on the tyre
  • gears are working correctly
  • the chain is properly adjusted and oiled
  • the saddle and handlebars are adjusted to the correct height.

Of course if you ever travel abroad with your bike you need our bike box for air travel.

green bike box by shokbox and a woman n the airport
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