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Safe Cycling

Safe Cycling

Cycling is a great way of getting from A to B as well as a great leisure time activity. To make your ride as enjoyable as possible, it's a good idea to carry out some simple bike checks before stepping on to the pedals:

  • Check that all your lights are working, even during the day it may be necessary to use your lights if the weather is bad. Never cycle at night without lights.


    • A front lamp is required, showing white light. The lamp must be positioned centrally or slightly offside, up to 1500mm from the ground, aligned towards and visible from the front.
    • A rear lamp is required, coloured red, positioned centrally or slightly offside, between 350mm and 1500mm from the ground, aligned towards and visible from the rear. Any number of additional lights may be added providing they adhere to the conditions above.
    • Reflectors should be visible and clean, rear reflectors are required by law on all bicycles, and pedal reflectors are required on all bicycles manufactured after 1st October 1985.
    • Rear reflector – coloured red, positioned centrally or slightly offside, between 350mm and 900mm from the ground, aligned towards and visible from the rear.
    • Pedal reflectors – coloured amber, four are recommended, positioned so that one is plainly visible to the front and rear of each panel.

  • Ensure the pressure of the tyres is correct.  The safe tyre pressure for your bike should be marked on the tyre sidewall. Check the tyres for obvious marks, cuts, or excessive wear - never ride a bike with a damaged tyre.
  • Check your brakes, they should be aligned correctly to stop the bike. You must have separate working brakes on the front and rear of your bicycle. If not don’t ride the bike until they have been adjusted properly. If in any doubt take your bike to a bike shop where they will be happy to help you.
  • Cycle helmets should comply with National Safety Standard BS 6658/1985 or equivalent. Ask for fitting advice when purchasing a new helmet and always replace your helmet after a knock as the impact could weaken the helmet.
  • When riding at night or in bad weather, cyclists are highly recommended to wear bright and reflective clothing
  • A saddle should be adjusted so that you are able to cycle comfortably, when seated your feet should be able to touch the ground with approximately half your foot.

Read the Department for Transport guidance on safe cycling.

Read the Freight Transport Association's Cycling Code (PDF 327 KB) : Improving the safety of cyclists around commercial goods vehicles.

Cycle Training

Find out about the range of cycle training lessons available

Personal attacks

Although incidents of personal attacks are very rare, if you are cycling on your own, take the following precautions:
  • Plan your route so that you don’t look lost
  • Carry a mobile phone and personal attack alarm with you
  • Stick to busy, well-lit places.

Further Information

In this section

More Information

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External websites

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This page was last reviewed 10 January 2014 at 12:55.
The page is next due for review 9 July 2015.