Cycling is an increasingly popular way of getting around, especially for people who work in busy towns and cities. In many cases, where traffic is heavy and slow, it can be the quickest and most convenient way of reaching your destination.
However, cyclists often get a bad press. Of course, the majority of people on bikes are considerate riders who cause no problem or obstruction, but there is a small minority who give others a bad name.
As to the question above – is there such a thing as cycling etiquette? Yes, there is, and it applies both to other cyclists, and to all other road users. A few do’s and don’ts of the road follow, and while we are sure you follow most of them, there may be some that you have not considered.
Etiquette Towards Other Cyclists
Cyclists are a friendly bunch on the whole, yet there are some things you should do – and not do – if you are to become an accepted member of this elite group! Here are a few ideas that you may take with you when you’re next out on a ride:
- Be nice to fellow cyclists; this seems like a logical thing to do, but how many times have you passed someone else riding, and they haven’t even bothered to nod, raise a hand or say hello? It’s only common courtesy, it costs nothing, and it’s a social thing to do that makes everyone involved feel better.
- Stop and help; if you see a fellow rider stopped by the roadside with an obvious problem, stop and ask if there’s anything you can do to help. More often than not they will be engrossed in fixing a puncture or with some other problem and will thank you for asking and send you on your way. It’s just polite to ask, as you may have something that could help.
- Do your bit at the front; drafting is a great way of getting some mileage in with less effort, but when you are riding with a group, make sure you put your time in at the front. Likewise, if someone passes you on a solo ride, make sure you ask if it’s OK to sit on their wheel for a while, as not everybody is going to want you to do so. You’ll usually find it’s OK, but ask anyway!
That’s a few tips on how to act correctly with fellow cyclists, so now onto the big one: etiquette towards other road users.
Etiquette with Other Road Users
As we said at the start, cyclists often get a bad press. Generally, however, it is down to a select few who choose not to obey the basic rules of the road, and who make things difficult for the rest.
Of course, there are some car and other vehicle drivers who are just plain rude and inconsiderate, but it remains so that all cyclists should be courteous when on the road.
One thing you must remember is that you are the least visible vehicle out there; a lorry driver may not be able to see you, and even car drivers can miss your presence in the mirror, so you need to take that extra bit of care.
Here are a few things to think about when it comes to etiquette in traffic:
- Never jump a red light; some cyclists think the traffic light doesn’t apply to them – it does. You are a road user, and you should obey the law. Also, it’s very dangerous and will get you injured before long.
- Always stick to two abreast; this is another simple rule and one that applies mostly to group rides. There is no need to hog the road, so make sure you leave adequate space for other road users. On narrow roads, you might want to think about riding single file.
- Courtesy to pedestrians; if you are using a cycle path that is also open to walkers, have some consideration. Keep your speed sensible, keep your eyes open, and give them the space you need.
These are just a few of the rules that we think should be included in cycling etiquette, and the basic one is this: you are a road user, so behave like one and show the responsibility that others are expected to.