In recent years there has been an increase in the number of men and women cycling on Britain’s busy and crowded roads, and unfortunately, road accident statistics published by the Department for Transport have shown an increase in the number of cyclists who have been seriously injured in road accidents.
Cyclists are a vulnerable type of road user, however many of the laws that apply to car drivers also apply to cyclists, such as the legal requirement to obey road signs and signals. For instance, the road traffic offence of red light jumping at traffic lights applies to cyclists in the same way as motorists, and a cyclist could receive a fixed penalty notice of £50 for the offence.
It has been the law for almost 200 years that cyclists are not permitted to ride on pavements next to roads, just like car drivers and van drivers must not travel along pavements. (Different laws apply to footpaths that are not next to roads.)
Section 29 of the Road Traffic Act 1980 makes it an offence for a person to ride a cycle on a road without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other road users. A cyclist found guilty by a court of the offence of careless cycling faces receiving a fine of up to £1,000.
Car drivers and motorcyclists could receive a fixed penalty notice for the offence of using a hand-held mobile phone, however, this law prohibiting the use of hand-held phones does not apply to cyclists.
The drink drive alcohol limits for motorists do not apply to cyclists, although section 30 of the Road Traffic Act 1980 makes it an offence to cycle if unfit to do so due to alcohol or drugs. The legal test is whether the cyclist is incapable of having proper control of the cycle, rather than failing a breathalyser test. The maximum penalty for cycling under the influence of alcohol or drugs is £1,000, however, depending on the circumstances of the incident, the cyclist may be prosecuted for the offence of dangerous cycling that carries a higher penalty.
More information on cycling: www.thebikehub.co.uk
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