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Sharing the road with cyclists

Operation Velo is a Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit initiative, committed to reducing cycle casualties on the road by informing drivers and cyclists of road sharing safety advice.

The laws of sharing the road

Cyclists can use the entire lane. Expect them to move out in the road to avoid hazards, to be seen better or make turns. Even if there is a cycle path or lane, it won’t be appropriate for all cyclists to use all the time.

The maximum penalty of careless driving is nine points and 175 percent of weekly income for the most serious cases.

Advice for drivers

When driving, you are expected to;

  • C - Concentrate
    Even the smallest lapse in concentration means you could fail to see an unprotected person. At best this is scary; at worst a collision will injure or kill them.

  • O - Observe
    Pay close attention to what is going on around you; use your mirrors regularly and drive to the conditions. Look particularly for cyclists and motorcyclist near junctions.

  • A - Anticipate
    We can’t always be sure what other people are going to do but just giving it some thought can reduce the chance of a collision. Expect cyclists to move out to avoid hazards.

  • S - Give space
    More room between you and other road users gives you more time to react. Remember just a nudge on an unprotected person can have serious or tragic consequences.

  • T - Give time
    Allow slower road users to travel safely, don’t pressure or harass them. Allow more time to brake and stop in wet weather, more still in snow or ice.

Highway Code for drivers

  • Rule 163 - give cyclists as much space as you would when overtaking a car.
  • Rule 212 - when passing a cyclist, give plenty of room. In practice this means at least 1.5m at 30mph, more at higher speeds or in bad weather.

Advice for cyclists

  • Be aware of what is happening around you
    • Look well ahead for obstructions or hazards and behind before you change road position or direction. Only move if there is suitable space available.
  • Look for others to react to you
    • If you don’t see any reaction, assume they haven’t seen you and be ready to brake or steer, if necessary.
    • If there is anyone who needs to know what you are about to do, signal before you move.
  • Abide by the law
    • In the dark or bad visibility you must have lights on the front and rear of your bike. Bright or reflective materials may also increase visibility in some circumstances.
  • Blind spots
    • Large vehicles have big blind spots. If you can’t see their mirrors, the driver can’t see you.
    • Avoid riding or waiting in blind spots, overtake on the right-hand side if oncoming traffic allows. Move ahead of the vehicle and ensure you are visible to the driver.
  • Overtaking
    • Only overtake in a stationary queue when it is clear a vehicle won’t suddenly begin to move.
  • Training
    • Road safety cycling training can improve your confidence when cycling. It helps you to position yourself correctly on the road and around other vehicles.

Highway Code for cyclists

  • Stay out of the gutter. Ride on the left edge of the traffic flow, at least 0.75m away from the kerb.
  • If there’s not enough room for a car to overtake you, you should ride in the middle of your traffic lane, known as the primary position. This makes you more visible, gives you more space and discourages unsafe passing. 

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