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Safe cycling

Safety on the roads is a key concern for most cyclists, particularly for parents of younger children. York has always been a pretty safe place to cycle and you may be reassured to know that York is now officially the safest place in the UK to cycle (Source: CTC, 2009). Ever increasing numbers of cyclists in the city means that other road users are much more aware of their presence.

Confident, safe cycling not only comes through experience but from good basic training. We offer personalised one-to-one Cycle training sessions suitable for all ages and abilities, whether you are a complete novice or just need a refresher or advanced skills session.

Here are our top tips for safe cycling:

  • Cycle at a steady pace about one metre away from the kerb, so that you can anticipate and respond to road situations easily. This is called the secondary position. Riding too close to the kerb or parked cars puts yourself at more risk, and encourages drivers to squeeze by. Experienced cyclists often take what is called the primary position, placing themselves further out, directly in front of traffic, where road conditions dictate that drivers can't overtake them safely.
  • Make eye contact with other road users at junctions and crossings: make sure that they've seen you.
  • Be predictable and confident on the road so that all road users are aware of you.
  • Be visible: wear bright, light coloured clothes and always use good lights and reflective gear at night.
  • Be heard: use your bell to let other road users and pedestrians know that you're approaching.
  • Never cycle on pavements or through red lights: it's against the law and gives cyclists a bad name.
  • Consider wearing a helmet.

Respecting other road users

  • Be aware of pedestrians and motorists around you at all times, particularly in busy city centre areas, where a variety of road users come into contact with one another.
  • Always be aware of pedestrians, particularly on shared cycle/pedestrian paths, and give them time to move out of the way.
  • Don’t forget that older people, young children and disabled people might not see or hear you as you approach them on your bike.

The Highway Code, downloadable below, is essential reading for all road users. It explains the laws that cyclists must obey for everyone’s safety, and offers further useful advice.

Lighting up

Riding without lights, or without adequate lights, in dark conditions puts yourself and other road users at risk, as well as being against the law. Check out the weather panel on this page for details of sunrise and sunset times so that you know when to use your lights. See Be Bright for more information on riding in dark conditions.

Be safe around HGVs

Be safe around HGVs and buses: stay back behind longer vehicles when they are turning left, or move ahead in front of them, never alongside. The following video "Cyclists & Freight- Sharing the road together" was created by Transport for London. See also our Take care when passing buses campaign.