Drivers Fact Sheets

Drivers And Cyclists

Aim: Drive Safe, Cycle Safe

Motorists and cyclists both have a right to use Britain’s roads – a right to safe and enjoyable travel. Both share a responsibility to understand each other’s needs – and to respond positively.

This fact sheet aims to make drivers and cyclists more aware of one another, and to counter the intolerance that can develop between them – in short, to establish a climate of mutual courtesy and care.

Cyclists are far more vulnerable than motorists – drivers have the major responsibility to take care. Rain, wind and poor visibility make conditions worse for cyclists. Cyclists can feel threatened by inconsiderate driving. They have a right to space on the road and need extra room at junctions and roundabouts where cars change speed, position and direction.

Please Remember:

Cyclists ride away from the kerb, not to annoy motorists but to:

  1. avoid drains, potholes and debris
  2. be seen as they come to junctions with side roads
  3. discourage drivers from squeezing past when it’s too narrow

Cyclists turning right are exposed – and need extra consideration from motorists, especially on multi-lane roads with fast-moving traffic.

Cyclists can be forced into faster traffic – by vehicles parked in cycle lanes, at junctions or on double yellow lines.

Cyclists are dazzled by full-beam headlights, like everyone else.

Cyclists can be fast movers – 20mph or more.

Cyclists can be of varying skill levels, but unfortunately you don’t know which is which. Although there are a lot of cyclists who know what they are doing, there are many who don’t.

Be patient. Legs aren’t as powerful as engines.

Take The Following Actions:

  1. Think bike – Expect to see cyclists, and take care. Slow down and drive smoothly. Keep within speed limits. Expect sudden movements by cyclists, especially on bad road surfaces.
  1. Signal: always at roundabouts and every time you pass a cyclist
    Keep your distance as an unknown cyclist may do something unexpected so make sure that you can brake in plenty of time.
  1. Overtaking a Cyclist – Because a cyclist rides close to the edge of the road they may swerve to avoid a drain or pothole. This can be dangerous when being overtaken by a car or other vehicle so when overtaking a cyclist try and leave as much space as possible.
  1. In Slow Moving Traffic – A cyclist may overtake you on your inside so make sure you check your left mirror before pulling into the kerb or turning left. Keep your eyes on the pavement as well as the road — cyclists, like pedestrians, may well use the pavement to cross a roundabout.
  1. Right Turns at Roundabouts – If you are a motorist, you must be able to deal with a cyclist in front of you on a roundabout. Cyclists will often feel safer staying in the left hand lane when turning right. If they are already on the roundabout, expect that at some point they will need to pull out into the outer lane just as another car would. Because they are slower than you, you may need to match your speed to theirs. When waiting at a roundabout show caution whenever you see a cyclist on the roundabout. Give them the space and time to be safe. Make eye contact if you are happy to let them pull out. It will give them the confidence to do so in good time, which, in the long run, will be quicker than waiting around for them to figure out if you mean it or not. But be careful – just because you can see their eyes doesn’t mean they can see yours; the windscreen can hide you from them.
  1. Overtaking on Roundabouts – Do not try to overtake a cyclist on a roundabout by going around the left side of them (unless they are clearly indicating that they are not leaving at this exit) because this will prevent the cyclist from leaving the roundabout properly. It will annoy both the cyclist and the other drivers behind; they will now have to cope with a flustered cyclist who may cut up other cars in a desperate attempt to get off at their exit.
  1. Left Turns at at Roundabouts – Never overtake a cyclist just before a left turn so you have to cut in front to make the turn. If see a cyclist on your approach to a left turn reduce your speed and let the cyclist make the turning.
  1. Country Lanes – Be mindful of cyclists whilst driving on country lanes. These lanes have twist and turns that can easily conceal a cyclist.
  1. Driving at Night – Although cyclist should have lights turned on at night and at dusk not all of them do so. It is also possible for their lights to be drowned out by the much more powerful lights of cars and other vehicles.
  1. In Windy Weather – Strong winds can make it difficult for cyclists to keep going in a straight line so always leave them more space when overtaking them.
  1. Park considerately – Always look for cyclists before opening a car door.
  1. Use dipped headlights – Cyclists report that car headlights are becoming brighter. The increased glare results in temporarily blindness.
  1. Give cyclists space – at least half a car’s width – and never force past them. Be patient – a few seconds for a cyclist hardly affects your total journey time.
  1. Expect speed from bikes – Remember a bike is a vehicle.

 What Motorists Would Like Cyclists To Know:

  1. Motorists get upset if cyclists ride without lights at night, ignore red traffic lights or hop on and off the pavement.
  2. Motorists usually travel faster than cyclists and may have less time to take account of hazards.
  1. Motorists may not always see cyclists.
  1. Motorists are made uneasy when cyclists seem hesitant, move out suddenly or wobble around potholes.
  1. Motorists can feel delayed by cyclist.
  1. Motorists don’t always understand that some road surfaces, junctions or traffic conditions cause problems for cyclists.

  What Cyclists Can Do:

  1. Follow the Highway Code.
  1. Don’t jump red lights.
  1. Ride on pavements (unless they are shared paths).
  1. Ride the wrong way in one-way streets (unless signs say that cyclists are permitted to do so).
  1. Ride across pedestrian crossings.
  1. Think ahead.
  1. Anticipate drivers’ actions.
  1. Catch their eye.
  1. Be visible. Ride well clear of the kerb, wear bright clothing, and always use lights after dark or in poor day-time visibility.
  1. Show drivers what you plan to do. Always look and signal before you start, stop or turn. Ride a straight line past parked cars rather than dodge between them.
  1. Move over, when it’s safe and convenient. Two-abreast is often OK, but try not to hold up other traffic.
  1. Ride positively and decisively. It helps motorists to understand what you plan to do.

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I confirm I have read the fact sheet ‘Drivers And Cyclists’

Signed…………………………………………………………… … Date……………………………………………….

Name of Driver………………………………………………… Vehicle Reg…………………………………….