Cycling should be fun, but it should also be safe. By following a few simple safety rules, you can make sure you keep out of trouble on the roads. Cheshire Police encourages cyclists to be legal and safe.
By law you must
- Make sure that lights and reflectors work and are kept clean
- Have white front and red rear lights lit when you are using your bicycle at night.
What equipment should I have when I go cycling?
Before you go out cycling, it's important that you have the correct equipment. This ensures that you stay safe whilst using the road. Some of the equipment that you require makes it easier for other road users to see you, protecting both them and you.
The equipment you should have:
- A cycle helmet which conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and fastens securely
- 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 which helps other road users to see you in poor light
- Reflective clothing and/or accessories (belt, arm or ankle bands) which help other road users to see you in the dark
- White front and red rear lights MUST be lit at night. Your bike MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1/10/85). 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.
Where can I cycle?
Cycle lanes (on the road)
On the pavement – unless signs show that cyclists are allowed to cycle on it.
Cycle tracks and bridleways (found away from the road)
Through red lights
Bus lanes (if there's a sign saying cyclists can use them).
The wrong way down a one-way street (unless signs say that cyclists can do otherwise).
Across a pelican, puffin or zebra crossing – but you can cycle across a toucan crossing when the green light for cyclists show
Where you see a ‘no cycling’ sign
These rules are found in the Highway Code.
How can I cycle safely?
How do I cycle safely on the roads?
Other motorists usually travel quicker than cyclists, and may have less time to react to hazards.
You need to:
- Ride positively and decisively
- Look and signal before you start, stop or turn
- Ride well clear of the kerb – one metre away or in the centre of the left lane
- Make eye contact with drivers to let them know you’ve seen them
- Acknowledge any courtesy from drivers
- Ride a car-door width away from parked cars.
Cycling on shared paths
People may not see or hear you approaching on shared paths so:
- Slow down
- Use your bell to let people know you’re there
- Be prepared to slow down or stop if necessary
- Keep to the cyclists’ side of the path.
How can I keep my bicycle safe?
To help keep your bike safe, follow these basic security tips:
- Do not leave your bike in isolated places
- Park safely and considerately; never leave your bike in a place where it will be a danger or obstruction to others - particularly older people, young children or people with disabilities
- Always lock your bike when leaving it, even if it's only for a few minutes
- Secure your bike to proper stands or robust street furniture
- Lock your bike through the frame, not the wheels
- Secure or remove wheels
- Remove smaller parts and accessories that can't be secured, especially lights, pumps and quick-release saddles
- Consider getting your bike security marked so that police can check who it belongs to and return it, if it’s been stolen.
- And remember, more than 50% of bike thefts occurs in owners' homes - so you may want to keep your bike locked up at all times.
Maintaining your bike
You need to keep your bike well maintained and in good working order. Carry out regular checks to make sure that:
- 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
- Your brakes are efficient.