Is it Illegal to Ride a Bike on the Pavement – And Other Things Cyclists Should Know

The rules surrounding where you can and can’t ride your bike can be confusing, but you should still know them. Here’s everything you need to know before taking your bike out on the road – or, indeed, the pavement.

Is it Illegal to Ride a Bike on the Pavement?

The Highway Code is a little contradictory when it comes to riding a bike on the pavement. Rule 64 of the Highway Code states that cyclists should not cycle on the pavement when riding their bike.

Rule 62, on the other hand, advises cyclists on how to behave when the cycle path runs along a pavement or footpath.

The code advises cyclists to “take care when passing pedestrians” if the pavement they are riding along is unsegregated. Cyclists should watch out for children and disabled people, in particular, giving them plenty of room.

Bike users should be prepared to slow down or stop as soon as possible in the event of an emergency.

If there is a clear cycle lane on the pavement, then cyclists should stick to the cycle lane and avoid riding on the pavement.

The answer to the question of “is it illegal to ride a bike on the pavement” appears to be “it depends.” If there is a definite cycle path for you, then you need to stick to that. If not, then you can cycle on the pavement if you must, but you need to watch out for pedestrians and give them ample room.

Can I Ride a Bike Without a Brake?

There have been a number of examples of cyclists charged with criminal offences because they were riding a bike without brakes. Olympic-style bikes without front brakes, for example, are not allowed on the road. These bikes must be fitted with a front brake before you can take them out on the road.

Brakes are the only legal requirement for cyclists to ride on the road outside of lights. The Pedal Cycles (and Use) Regulations Act of 1983 makes it clear that pedal bikes need to be fitted with two braking systems to be ridden on the road. A bike that only has front or back brakes should not be used on the road.

Do I Need to Wear a Helmet when Cycling?

There are no legal requirements for cyclists to wear a helmet when riding a bike. It would be best if you cycled with a helmet on, and the Highway Code recommends wearing one even though you are not legally obligated to.

Can I Use a Mobile Phone While Cycling?

It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving a motor vehicle, but bicycles don’t count as motor vehicles. You can legally use your phone while cycling, but please keep in mind this is very dangerous and is not recommended.

Can I Drink and Ride?

The rules around drinking and riding a bike are a little different than those for drinking and driving. With that said, riding while under the influence of drink or drugs is still an offence and you could be fined £2,500 for it.

David Wilson
David Wilson

I love road bikes; racing against the clock trying to beat my PB is what I enjoy doing every weekend!

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