Background: At Leicester Cycle Campaign Group we felt that there is often too much negativity in the discourse about transport choices. This can often lead to resentment and animosity on the roads, which makes the situation worse. Whilst a minority of car drivers have a negative attitude towards cyclists, this often comes from misunderstandings or from poor infrastructure. Cyclists (and pedestrians) can also sometimes be witnessed acting in a disrespectful manner, something which they accuse car drivers of. In reality, most road and path users are willing and able to respect each other and recognise anti-social or foolish behaviour, regardless of the mode of transport involved.
For this reason, we have drawn up a list of examples of the sorts of behaviours that can make the difference between anti-social and respectful travelling. Although almost all of these points are part of the Highway code, they are frequently observed to be breached. We would like all road and path users to consider this statement of respect and we hope that everyone can try to follow it. We would like to hear any comments or points for discussion.
Road and Path User Statement of Respect
We believe that all road and path users have the responsibility to respect other users, regardless of mode of transport. In return, all users should have the right to expect such treatment from others.
A general guideline is that all road and path users have a particular duty to respect more vulnerable users.
Although often covered by the highway code, specific guidelines to be aware of for various users:
- Pass cyclists at a safe distance (minimum of 1.5m on narrow/ slow moving roads and a car width on faster roads)
- Be aware of cycles when pulling out of side roads. They move faster than you think. Also be aware that some roads which are 1 way for motor-vehicles are 2 way for cyclists.
- Do not park to obstruct cycle lanes or pavements.
- Do not jump red lights. Amber lights are a warning to prepare to stop, not instructions to speed up.
- Take care when opening car doors, especially on the road side. Check behind first.
- Remember that everyone pays for the roads through council tax and so everyone has a right to use them.
- Respect advance stop lines at junctions. These are put in for cyclists safety.
- Respect the ‘rules of the road’ and road infrastructure, such as traffic lights. Other road users will expect you to.
- Do not cycle on pavements, unless it is signposted as shared use.
- When on shared use space, show respect to pedestrians. Ring bell in good time and do not pass too close to pedestrians. Slow down near children, dogs and people with an obvious disability. If it is busy, consider dismounting and pushing the cycle.
- If you want to cycle fast, stick to the road or segregated cycle lane.
- On the roads, allow cars to overtake by keeping to the left if safe to do so.
- For your and pedestrians safety, wear high vis and use cycle lights when cycling at night.
- Take care when overtaking horse-riders, so as not to startle the horse.
- Don’t walk in designated cycle lanes.
- Always check for cyclists when crossing a cycle lane.
- Move dogs out of the way when cyclists approach.