About cycling

Cycling in different situations

Using cycle lanes and cycling in bus lanes

Where there are cycle lanes, you should use them. However, at times you may need to move further out into the road (if the lane is too close to the sides of parked cars or because of rubbish, or uneven road surfaces). You should also leave the cycle lane well before an intersection to join a different lane to turn right or left.

You may use a bus lane, as long as there isn't a ‘buses only’ sign. You should be considerate of buses - the size of a bus means bus drivers often can't see cyclists.

Vehicles turning left may need to cross bus or cycle lanes. The law states that they must give way to all vehicles using the lanes. But you still need to be careful if a vehicle is turning left just ahead of you as the driver may not see you, or may wrongly guess your speed.

Using different types of pedestrian crossings

Marked pedestrian (zebra) crossings with no raised traffic islands

Stop and give way to pedestrians on any part of the crossing, or who are obviously waiting to cross it.

Marked pedestrian (zebra) crossings with raised traffic islands

Stop and give way to pedestrians on your half of the road.

School patrol crossing on a marked pedestrian (zebra) crossing

Stop when a sign is being held out and wait until both signs are withdrawn.

Kea crossing

A temporary school patrol crossing outside a school that is not on a marked pedestrian (zebra) crossing.

Stop when the sign is being held out and wait until both signs are withdrawn.

Kea crossing

Kea crossing

Courtesy crossings

These are usually made of bricks or paving and are often raised above the level of the road.

These are not official pedestrian crossings, but be polite and stop for pedestrians waiting to cross on them.

Courtesy crossing

Courtesy crossing

Using shared pedestrian and cycle crossings

Normally cyclists using pedestrian crossings need to get off their cycles and walk across. However, some special crossings are designed for both pedestrians and cyclists. These crossings have a set of red, yellow and green signals that display bicycle symbols in addition to the normal pedestrian signals. You are allowed to cycle across when the bicycle symbol is green, which may or may not be when pedestrians cross. Pedestrians must only cross when the pedestrian symbol is green.

Shared crossing

Shared crossing

Crossing railway lines

When you are approaching railway crossings you should slow down and be ready to stop. If the crossing has bells, lights or barrier arms then you will need to wait until the bells and lights have stopped and the barrier has lifted out of the way. Some railway crossings don't have bells, lights or barriers, so look as far as you can up and down the railway line to check whether trains are coming.

To avoid your cycle's wheels getting stuck in railway lines or slipping in wet conditions, try to cross the lines at a right angle (or as close as possible to a right angle).

Using one-lane bridges

Some bridges are one way only. The following signs tell you what you should do.

Give way to all vehicles coming towards you

Give way to all vehicles coming towards you

Vehicles travelling towards you should give way unless they are already on the bridge

Vehicles travelling towards you should give way unless they are already on the bridge

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Last updated: 12 February 2010