Highway code refresher for cyclists

5 May 2020 | Rebekah Watson

As we start week 7 of lockdown, there is one thing that is more noticeable on the roads…cyclists. Whether you are a regular, or novice to cycling, people are certainly using their exercise time to get out on their bikes.

If you are new to cycling, or even a regular, it is important to understand the rules of the road to keep you safe, even with less vehicles around. I therefore thought I would provide some basic information for beginners and those dusting off their old bike to start cycling again.

Highway Code

The Highway Code advises, cyclists should:

  • keep both hands on the handlebars except when signalling or changing gear and keep both feet on the pedals.
  • never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends – This can be tricky if cycling as a family with children which more families are choosing to do at this current time. If cycling with children it would be advisable to do so in a local park but this is not always possible for everyone so if you are cycling as a family a higher assessment of the road conditions and number of vehicles on the road should be considered before setting out.
  • not ride close behind another vehicle.
  • not carry anything which will affect your balance or may get tangled up with your wheels or chain – This is particularly important if you are cycling to shops or markets and carrying produce home. If you can, try to use a basket attached to the bike or a backpack.

Helmets

One topic which regularly comes up when discussing cycling is whether wearing a helmet is required. Whilst there is no law stating that a helmet must be worn, the Highway Code advises you should wear a cycle helmet.

When accidents happen and a person sustains a head injury the issue of contributory negligence will often be raised if they were not wearing a helmet. Contributory negligence is a partial defence argued by Defendant insurers and solicitors in which they state there should be apportionment of the loss between the two parties because the Claimant’s unreasonable conduct contributed to the loss or damage.

Whilst wearing a helmet may not be a legal requirement, it does offer protection should you be involved in an accident and helps prevent contributory negligence being raised.

Enjoy cycling if you are new to it and stay safe everyone!

Blog post written by Rebekah Watson, in the cycling accident claims team

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