Cycle laws and etiquette explained

01 November


The relationship between cyclists and drivers is often a frayed one.

The rise in helmet-cams has helped settle disputes, yet for both parties there still seems to be some confusion over road laws as well as the general etiquette. Here is a quick list that outlines the road laws for cyclists as well as some common etiquette to take heed of:

Two abreast

Even though most drivers will think otherwise, it’s actually perfectly legal for cyclists to ride side by side on UK roads - single file is only mandatory on slim roads. A cause of great annoyance for drivers, the common perception here is that cyclists riding two abreast makes it more difficult to overtake. Actually, this isn’t true, and makes roads safer for all involved.


Most likely to be the cause of the majority of driver vs cyclist issues, overtaking is a hot topic on the roads. The law actually states that most vulnerable vehicles (cyclists fall under this) should be given at least the same amount of space as a usual vehicle. This means that any overtaking should be done via the other side of the road, as if overtaking another car. However, what often occurs is a muddle whereby the cyclist pulls to the side and lets a same-lane overtaking situation occur – resulting in a hazardous situation.

Road space

As mentioned above, cyclists, according to the Highway Code should be given at least the same amount of space as a traditional vehicle. To elaborate, it is commonplace to see a cyclist on the edge of the road, hugging the curb in order to stay out of danger. However, this principle is actually counter-productive, as overtaking becomes more dangerous and cyclists are at a higher risk due to ditches, grids and potholes that are often found on the inner section of roads.

Improving overall attitudes

As mentioned earlier, there is no love lost between the driver-cyclist relationship. Most issues arise from the three main problems mentoned earlier, and can actually be solved through all road users making a conscious effort to brush up on the Highway Code. No one likes being held up, yet a little patience with a cyclist can be the difference between an accident taking place. Don’t shout, beep or attempt aggressive manoeuvres—it’s simply not helpful or worth the risk to both parties.

*We recommend you brush up on cyclist laws here, to make certain you’re crystal clear on the correct driver/cyclist etiquette.

Have we missed any important cycling ettiqutte? Tweet us your rules at @Allstar

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