9 tips for sharing the road with cyclists

Blog post posted on 23/03/21 |

During the pandemic, we’ve seen more cyclists out on the road. And with spring here, there will be more vulnerable road users making the most of the sunshine. This week’s tips give advice on sharing the road with cyclists from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman.

  1. Leave enough room. When riding or driving leave enough room between you and the cyclist, you never know when you have to stop and you want to make sure there is enough space in the event of anything unexpected happening.
  2. Police forces are enforcing 1.5 metres as the minimum passing width but the easiest way to remember is to treat the cyclist as you would a car. Give them space and treat 1.5 metres as a minimum.
  3. Don’t overtake a cyclist into a loss of vision as the car towards would possibly cause you to move towards the cyclists. Look beyond the cyclist to develop your ability to get past, keeping distance a of 1.5 metres width and two or three car lengths behind them. Remember, the closer you are, the more nervous the cyclist(s) will be which may result in them becoming unbalanced.
  4. Be careful when overtaking groups of cyclist and ensure you can see well ahead before attempting an overtake. If cyclists are in single file, bear in mind how long you will need to overtake them, and how far ahead the road needs to be clear, as you will not be able to filter in and out.
  5. The Highway Code (rule 212) states: “When passing motorcyclists and cyclists, give them plenty of room. If they look over their shoulder it could mean that they intend to pull out, turn right or change direction. Give them time and space to do so.”
  6. Ensure your view ahead is clear and visible before overtaking. Bear in mind that cyclists may need to move suddenly to avoid  obstacles such as potholes and puddles (Highway Code rule 213). Being patient and paying attention to these details will help keep yourself and the cyclist safe on the road.
  7. During the pandemic, the Government has encouraged us to use different means of transport rather than public transport. Post lockdown, we will experience all types of cyclists; those who have just started out, families, people who have not been on a bike for years and more experienced cyclists. As motorists, we need to ensure we share the road and adapt our driving to keep vulnerable road users safe. 
  8. Take your time. Don’t lose your hair and lose your temper waiting for a cyclist on the road. Acting irrationally leads to unnecessary road rage and accidents that could be easy avoided.
  9. After parking, check for other road users by opening your door using the Dutch reach method; check your mirrors and reach across with your left hand. This encourages you to look over your shoulder and check your blind spot to see if it is safe to open the door:

Richard said: “Cycling has never been so popular and sharing the road safely is the key to ensuring we all get to enjoy the sunshine. Cyclists don’t have a safety cell of metal, seatbelts and airbags around them so the onus has to be on the driver to look out for the most vulnerable on our roads. Giving them a bit more time and a lot more space will make life easier for all of us."