Cycle Safety Guide
Avoid Cycling in the Front-left Lorry Risk Zone
Beware of cycling into the front-left lorry risk zone – though accidents are not exclusive to the left side of the vehicle, statistically it is the position in which most collisions take place. If a lorry passes you and puts you in its risk zone, slow down or brake in order to drop behind them.
Always remember: if the truck is ahead stay back. If the truck is behind, get ahead
If you’ve stopped in front of a lorry or bus at a junction, position yourself well forward of the cab and to the centre, so the driver can easily see you. If possible, make eye contact with the driver to show that you have both acknowledged each other. There is a large blind spot in front of the driver’s cab which you may not be aware of – do not assume that because you are in an ASL (advance stop line), you can be seen – try to get at least 5 metres ahead of the vehicle. The following TfL video has some useful pointers but doesn’t mention this very important point on ASLs and HGV blind-spots, so please make a note.
Do not presume the lorry is going to travel in the direction you think
Do not assume that a large vehicle is going straight ahead just because they are not signalling. Similarly, do not assume that a lorry that looks to be manoeuvring right is actually doing so. This is a common misconception, as large vehicles will often pull out to the right in order to give themselves enough room to swing left. The more inviting a wide gap down the inside of a large vehicle looks, the more dangerous it usually is, as the vehicle prepares to turn left. Remember that just as a lorry may have to pull out to the right in order to manoeuvre left, it may also have to pull out to the left in order to tun right.
If you are approaching a set of traffic lights and there are already lorries or buses ahead of you, the safest thing to do is hold back and wait for the large vehicle to complete its turn.
Take your Time
Cycle calmly, be patient and give large vehicles lots of room. If this means leaving for work/school a little earlier then so be it.
Know Your Cycle Lanes
These are areas of carriageway designated and marked for use by pedal cycles. They can be either advisory or mandatory. Cycle lanes alert drivers to the presence of cyclists and give cyclists greater confidence. They can be introduced to help cyclists by-pass queuing traffic and lead cyclists to special facilities such as advanced stop lines at traffic signals. They are most useful where there are few side roads and no parking or loading requirements.
Mandatory Cycle Lanes
These are marked with a continuous white line and are supported by a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO), which prohibits vehicles from driving or parking in the lane. Mandatory lanes must be discontinued at side road junctions but the use of a short length advisory lane may preserve continuity. The term ‘mandatory’ refers to motorists, not to cyclists. It means that it is mandatory that motorists keep out of a mandatory cycle lane. It does not mean that it is mandatory that cyclists keep in the lane.
Advisory Cycle Lanes
These are marked with a broken white line and do not require a TRO. They can be continued across side road junctions. Both advisory and mandatory cycle lanes can be coloured to emphasise their presence – often in blue or red. Cycle lanes are generally between 1.0m and 2.0m in width depending on flows and site characteristics although a minimum width of 1.5 metres is recommended. An additional 500mm “buffer” zone is recommended where a cycle lane passes alongside designated parking spaces.
An advisory cycle lane is simply that – advisory. Motorists are advised not to drive or park in it, but it is not an offence to do so (though if there are yellow lines the usual rules apply).
Contra-Flow Cycle Lanes
These are becoming more widely used as a cycle priority measure. They are mandatory cycle lanes which allow cyclists to travel against the prevailing flow of traffic in one-way streets, within the designated lane.
In some circumstances it may be considered unsafe or inappropriate to designate areas of carriageway as cycle lane. Where pedestrian flows are relatively low it may be appropriate to convert footways to shared use facilities. It is recommended that footways are at least 3 metres wide if a cycle path is to be considered but, in practice they may be accommodated on narrower footways when flows and site characteristics permit. Cycle paths may be one or two-way. Cyclists and pedestrians may be segregated by a white line or some other feature or may share the full width of the footway. In either case complimentary advisory signing is normally provided.
These are traffic free, off-highway cycle routes normally shared with pedestrians.
This isn’t limited to wearing hi-visibility, Cycle Alert and reflective clothing. You should also have working lights at the front and rear of your bicycle. Look over your shoulder at regular intervals and make eye-contact with the driver wherever possible in order to ensure they have acknowledged you.