5 Sep 2016

Common Cycling Misconceptions Busted

As a cyclist, are you aware of your rights and responsibilities when out cycling on the roads? Cyclists are often unfairly segregated from other road users, such as cars, buses etc, and are considered vulnerable on the road.

Although they must abide by the laws of the road just like anyone else, it’s often forgotten that they have rights too. Frequently, cyclists, especially those who haven’t been cycling for very long, assume they have to give in to the mercy of other less vulnerable road users, when this shouldn’t be the case. Many regular cyclists most likely already know the majority of their rights, but here’s just a couple of common misconceptions we’ve cleared up that can sometimes cause confusion.

Cycling two abreast

There’s very often misunderstandings surrounding whether the Highway Code allows cyclists to ride two abreast. Cyclists are actually well within their rights to do this – it is even considered safer to do so as opposed to riding in single file. This is because it’s easier for motor vehicles to overtake safely, as it forces them to widen the gap they leave between themselves and the cyclists. As well as this, it also means the vehicle will have overtaken the cyclist more quickly, as the length of bike traffic will be shorter.

While riding two abreast is perfectly acceptable, you should never ride more than two abreast, and it remains safer to stay in single file on narrow or busy roads and when cornering.

Position in the road

It seems to be common for drivers to assume that cyclists should be almost glued to the curb when cycling on the road. The well-known term ‘taking the lane’ refers to the cyclist’s position being in the centre of the road. This comes as a huge annoyance to many drivers who think this is a dangerous practice, but who’s right? In actual fact, it’s deemed safer for cyclists to adopt this road position, as it makes them easily visible to other road users. Cycling so close to the curb can present an array of hazards for the cyclist – uneven road from drain holes or sporadic parked cars in their pathway.

There will still be drivers and other road users who don’t appreciate cyclists ‘taking the road’, but, nevertheless, you are well within your right to do so. Try making eye contact with drivers to help humanise the interaction between you both. This will stimulate their reactions and remind them that you are on the road, which can help to ensure your safety when riding in this position.

Cyclist dismount sign

Dismount signs often come as a great annoyance. As a cyclist, why should you have to stop midway through your journey and climb off your bike? However, dismount signs are advisory only and by continuing without dismounting is not an offence. Having said this, it’s common sense to remember that these signs are there for a reason – to help keep cyclists safe – so please do always exercise caution when approaching such a sign, for you own safety.

The number of cyclists on UK roads is increasing every day, as Britain continues to advocate for a less polluted and healthier nation. With this is mind, cyclists and other road users need to work together to ensure the safety of one another when travelling. For adults returning to cycling or taking it up for the first time, local authorities often run training for people of varying ages and abilities. A government backed national cycle training standard has also been developed for use in schools, and this can be of great benefit in educating young cyclists.

As well as staying safe on the roads it is important to know what to do if you are knocked off your bike or involved in a cycle accident which damages your equipment or causes you injury. At Winn Solicitors we are specialists in handling road accident claims, with a dedicated team to help you get back in the saddle if you are unlucky enough to be involved in a collision. To find out how we could help you after an accident, speak to one of our advisors using Live Chat today.

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