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On Your Bike: Cyclists guide to avoiding penalties this summer


Novice cyclers hoping to take up the hobby this summer are being urged to brush up on cycling laws to avoid penalties.

Experts at Quotezone.co.uk have warned cyclists planning to enjoy the sunshine that there are severe consequences for failing to follow road rules and laws. 

Any cyclist caught ignoring the rules is breaking the law and could face fines of up to £2,500, and two-years imprisonment. 

There are twice as many cyclist fatalities in the summer months compared to the winter months, so cyclists must ensure they know the rules of the road and take all necessary precautions to keep themselves and other road users safe.*

Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, cyclists face multiple offences​​ if found to be on the road without due care and attention or reasonable consideration for other people using the road. 

This can include cycling under the influence of alcohol or cycling dangerously or carelessly. 

Other rules on the Highway Code include wearing the correct and appropriate clothing, having the proper lighting requirements, and obeying the rules of the road.

Lee Evans, bicycle insurance comparison expert at Quotezone.co.uk, said: “Cycling offers an ideal opportunity for Brits to explore the great outdoors, maintain an active lifestyle, and enjoy the sun. 

“With more people wanting to take up cycling with the weather improving, it is vital that they are aware of the laws and rules of the road, especially the ones that specifically target cyclists. 

“Whether cycling to work, indulging in leisurely cycles, or simply incorporating it into their exercise regime, there are many cycling rules that people may be unaware of.

“There are many misconceptions about what is and isn’t lawful, especially with the Highway Code constantly updating, but if they fail to adhere to them, they could be at risk of a dangerous or careless cycling offence.

“We are urging anyone looking to get out on their bike this year to familiarise themselves with the laws of the road.”

Here are Quotezone.co.uk’s ten cycling rules and laws to watch out for this summer:

1.  Never drink and cycle

People may be tempted to cycle home after heading to the beer garden instead of driving, but this is illegal. Those found drunk cycling could be convicted, leading to a fine or imprisonment under section twelve of the Licensing Act, 1872.

2. Cycling on a pavement

Rule 64 of the Highway Code states that cyclists must not cycle on the pavement. Cycling on pavements is illegal and punishable by a fine.

3. Wear appropriate clothing

Cyclists should wear appropriate clothing when heading out on their bikes, according to rule 59 of the Highway Code. It states that cyclists should avoid wearing anything that could get caught in the chain and wear bright or fluorescent colours to stand out to drivers. They also advise cyclists to wear a helmet to reduce the risk of injuries.

4. Dangerous Cycling 

Under the Road Traffic Act, anyone cycling on the road dangerously could face a fine of £2500 and imprisonment for three months. Cycling recklessly, at a standard far below what would be considered careful or competent, would be considered dangerous. This includes cycling at speeds or in hazardous conditions that could endanger the public. 

If a cyclist causes bodily harm to anyone due to their cycling, they could also be charged with ‘wanton and furious driving’, which falls under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. Cyclists face two years imprisonment and an unlimited fine if found guilty of this offence.**

5. Careless and Inconsiderate Cycling

Anyone who cycles on the road without due care and attention or reasonable consideration for others using the road could be found guilty of Careless Cycling, which carries a fine of up to £1000.

6. Have the correct lighting requirements.

Cyclists must ensure they are visible and well-lit whenever there is reduced visibility. The Highway Code states that all cyclists must ensure they use lights between sunset and sunrise, headlights at night, and all bikes must be fitted with a red rear reflector.

7. Carrying friends 

Carrying someone on the back of a bicycle is strictly forbidden under the Road Traffic Act. Those who ignore this, can be fined.

8. Avoid bike racing

Unless authorised, anyone who promotes or takes part in a cycling race or trials of speed on a public highway can be liable on summary conviction to a fine. Parents should ensure their children know this rule and the dangers of cycling at speed as the summer holidays approach.*

9. Never cycle while using a mobile

Although using a mobile phone whilst cycling is not technically illegal, it could cause a cyclist to commit an offence of careless or dangerous cycling, which comes with huge fines. Rule 66 of the Highway code asks cyclists to avoid any actions that could reduce their control. So, as well as being an obvious safety hazard, using a mobile phone should always be avoided. 

10. Obey all traffic signs

Just like motorists, by law, cyclists must obey all traffic signs and traffic light signals, but those new to cycling might be unaware that this is a legal requirement. The 1988 Road Traffic Act states that a person driving or propelling a vehicle that fails to comply with traffic signs is guilty of an offence.

Quotezone.co.uk helps thousands of road users each year find savings on everyday household bills and essentials such as road bike, electric bike and triathlon bike insurance.




This article is intended as generic information only and is not intended to apply to anybody’s specific circumstances, demands or needs. The views expressed are not intended to provide any financial service or to give any recommendation or advice. Products and services are only mentioned for illustrative rather than promotional purposes.

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