Think? Cyclist

The Department for Transport have issued some parallel guidelines for cyclists and for motorists, having spotted that they are often the same people.

The guidelines and rationale are out here:

 It’s a start. but what struck me when reading the guidelines was how badly written they are. They ramble on, jumble up actions and reasons and drift into ambiguity. This is what they say:


When you’re driving

  1. Look out for cyclists, especially when turning – make eye contact if possible so they know you’ve seen them.
  2. Use your indicators – signal your intentions so that cyclists can react.
  3. Give cyclists space – at least half a car’s width. If there isn’t sufficient space to pass, hold back. Remember that cyclists may need to manoeuvre suddenly if the road is poor, it’s windy or if a car door is opened.
  4. Always check for cyclists when you open your car door.
  5. Avoid driving over advance stop lines – these allow cyclists to get to the front and increase their visibility.
  6. Follow the Highway Code including ‘stop’ and ‘give way’ signs and traffic lights.

When you’re cycling

  1. Ride positively, decisively and well clear of the kerb – look and signal to show drivers what you plan to do and make eye contact where possible so you know drivers have seen you.
  2. Avoid riding up the inside of large vehicles, like lorries or buses, where you might not be seen
  3. Always use lights after dark or when visibility is poor
  4. Wearing light coloured or reflective clothing during the day and reflective clothing and/or accessories in the dark increases your visibility
  5. Follow the Highway Code including observing ‘stop’ and ‘give way’ signs and traffic lights

224 words

Here is my first alternative draft:


When you’re driving

  1. Always look out for cyclists. Especially at junctions. Eye contact can be useful.
  2. Always use your indicators. Make it a habit, not a decision.
  3. Give cyclists much more space when you pass.
  4. Before opening your car door at the roadside always look for cyclists behind you.
  5. Advanced stop lines are for cyclists – not you. Stop at the first line and don’t move forward until the lights are green.

When you’re cycling

  1. Look around and behind you before every manoeuvre. Eye contact can be useful.
  2. Never undertake big vehicles.
  3. Always use lights after dark or when visibility is poor.
  4. Be seen. Light, bright or reflective clothes always help. Camouflage never does.
  5. Pavements are for pedestrians – not you. Stop, dismount and push your bicycle considerately.

138 words



2 thoughts on “Think? Cyclist

  1. I’ll stop overtaking on the left when the authorities stop putting the cycle lane on the left. Likewise,I’ll stop riding on pavement when the authorities stop signing that I can.

    I think the rewording is probably an illustration of oversimplification. Maybe the roads should be simplified to match (cycle lanes on road or on their own, never on footways) but they aren’t yet.

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