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Bicycle safety

Cycling should be fun, but it should also be safe. By following a few simple safety rules, you can make sure you keep out of trouble on the roads. Cheshire Police encourages cyclists to be legal and safe.

By law you must

  • Make sure that lights and reflectors work and are kept clean
  • Have white front and red rear lights lit when you are using your bicycle at night.

What equipment should I have when I go cycling?

Before you go out cycling, it's important that you have the correct equipment. This ensures that you stay safe whilst using the road. Some of the equipment that you require makes it easier for other road users to see you, protecting both them and you.

The equipment you should have:

  • A cycle helmet which conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and fastens securely
  • Appropriate clothes for cycling. Avoid clothes which may get tangled in the chain or in a wheel, or may obscure your lights
  • Light-coloured or fluorescent clothing which helps other road users to see you in poor light
  • Reflective clothing and/or accessories (belt, arm or ankle bands) which help other road users to see you in the dark
  • The compulsory lights and reflectors on your bike. These are:
    o White front light
    o Red rear light
    o Red rear reflector
    o Amber/yellow pedal reflectors - front and back of each pedal.

Where can I cycle?

Do cycle  Don't cycle 
On marked cycle lanes (On the road) On the pavement – unless signs show that cyclists are allowed to cycle on it. 
Cycle tracks and bridleways (found away from the road)  Through red lights.
On bus lanes if there's a sign saying cyclists can use them.  The wrong way down a one-way street  (unless signs say that cyclists can do otherwise). 
  Across a pelican, puffin or zebra crossing – but you can cycle across a toucan crossing when the green light for cyclists show.
  On motorways.

Where you see a ‘no cycling’ sign 

These rules are found in the Highway Code.

How can I cycle safely?

How do I cycle safely on the roads?

Other motorists usually travel quicker than cyclists, and may have less time to react to hazards.
You need to:

  • Ride positively and decisively
  • Look and signal before you start, stop or turn
  • Ride well clear of the kerb – one metre away or in the centre of the left lane
  • Make eye contact with drivers to let them know you’ve seen them
  • Acknowledge any courtesy from drivers
  • Ride a car-door width away from parked cars.

Cycling on shared paths

People may not see or hear you approaching on shared paths so:

  • Slow down
  • Use your bell to let people know you’re there
  • Be prepared to slow down or stop if necessary
  • Keep to the cyclists’ side of the path.

Bicycle security

How can I keep my bicycle safe?

To help keep your bike safe, follow these basic security tips:

  • Do not leave your bike in isolated places
  • Park safely and considerately; never leave your bike in a place where it will be a danger or obstruction to others - particularly older people, young children or people with disabilities
  • Always lock your bike when leaving it, even if it's only for a few minutes
  • Secure your bike to proper stands or robust street furniture
  • Lock your bike through the frame, not the wheels
  • Secure or remove wheels
  • Remove smaller parts and accessories that can't be secured, especially lights, pumps and quick-release saddles
  • Consider getting your bike security marked so that police can check who it belongs to and return it, if it’s been stolen.
  • And remember, more than 50% of bike thefts occurs in owners' homes - so you may want to keep your bike locked up at all times.

How to Prevent Bicycle Theft

  • Take out insurance- ask your parents for help in taking out insurance for your bike. They may extend your home contents insurance or buy a separate policy.
  • Record and register your bike- register your bicycle model, make and frame number. This helps the police in returning recovered bikes to their rightful owners.
  • Take a clear, colour photograph of your bike and make a written record of its description, including any unique features, so that you can report it accurately if it gets stolen
  • Security mark the bicycle- see the Operation Shield page on our main website to see how you can order a security marking kit. Display a tag on the bike letting would be thieves know that the bicycle is security marked
  • Keep your bike in a secure garage or shed and keep the door locked
  • Secure it to something that does not move.

Out and about

  • Avoid leaving your bike in dark or isolated places
  • Park your bike safely and considerately. Make use of cycle parking stands where these are provided. Park your bike where it will not be in the way of others
  • Never park in front of a fire exit.
  • Don’t lock it in the same place on a regular basis – so it won’t be noticed and stolen to order.
  • Always lock your bicycle, even if you are just leaving it for a couple of minutes.
  • Lock your bike to something that doesn’t move. 
  • Lock your bike through the frame. Lock both wheels and the frame together. Take with you smaller parts and accessories that can be removed without tools, for example lights, pumps, computers, panniers and quick-release saddles, or fit security fasteners on items such as wheels, headsets and seat posts.
  • Keep the gap between the bike and the lock small.
  • Never leave the lock lying on the pavement – a lock can be sledge hammered easily when it’s resting on the ground. Locks can also be picked, so face the lock towards the ground (but not resting on it) so it can’t easily be turned upwards for picking.