Traffic Awareness

bike choice 3One of the key principles of safe cycling is to cycle in a prominent position on the road where you can be clearly seen. Avoid cycling very close to the kerb or edge of the road, which reduces your room for manoeuvre and makes you more likely to hit drain covers and potholes. You should ride at least about a metre away from the edge of the road.

Proper road positioning can be summed up in the following points made by the cycling expert John Franklin:

“Increase your margin of safety … by riding where you can obtain the best view, where you can best be seen by others and your movements predicted.”

“Good road positioning is not about keeping you out of the path of other traffic as much as possible. Contrary to popular belief, this is not necessarily the best way to maximise safety.”

John Franklin, Cyclecraft, The Stationery Office (2004).

Try to keep at least a door’s width from parked cars, as doors may open into your path. If the road has parked cars on both sides and there is no space for you and an oncoming vehicle to pass, slow down, and if necessary stop. You have equal right of way with other road users, but in all situations your safety should be your primary concern.

If you are stuck in traffic and vehicles are blocking your way forward you should not mount the kerb and ride on the pavement. Instead, wait until you can safely cycle forward, or get off and walk your bike until you can cycle on the road again.


The Stockton-on-Tees Active Travel Hub