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Positioning statement: Cycle safety

Blog post   •   Jun 01, 2012 00:01 BST

The RAC believes that motorists and cyclists have a shared responsibility to respect and watch out for each other, as well as other road users, and to drive or cycle responsibly and within the law.

We know that many cyclists are also motorists so the key to good relationship between the two on the roads is consideration, patience and commonsense from both parties. Motorists and cyclists are equally subject to the laws of road as outlined in the Highway Code.

Motorists should always be conscious of cyclists, giving them plenty of space because of their vulnerability. Drivers of larger vehicles, in particular, should always be on the look-out for cyclists and take extra care whenever they encounter them. You should be doubly vigilant around younger riders and always remember the ‘Look Twice’ advice at junctions and when using mirrors before turning, changing lane or overtaking. Only overtake if there’s a safe opportunity to do so and do not drive too close to cyclists before overtaking. Think how you would want motorists to drive near you or your loved-ones when cycling.

Cyclists should ensure they are visible to motorists and other road users at all times by wearing bright-coloured clothing. In dark or low light conditions you should always wear reflective clothing and ensure you have effective, working lights. Remember it is generally good advice to wear a cycle helmet. Always be mindful of the speed of other vehicles and consider using cycle lanes when available, and if appropriate. It is also important to choose your routes carefully and to consider the experience of your fellow cyclists. For example, never ride more than two abreast as outlined in the Highway Code and be prepared to recognise that on many roads this is not a safe way to ride. In addition, you should always match your cycling style to the road condition, just as you should when driving.

At the RAC we recognise that there are as many different types of cyclists as there are motorists – in fact more. From competition or challenge cyclists to commuters and weekend leisure riders and families to BMX kids and mountain bikers – everyone has their own passion, level of experience and confidence.

The RAC is a supporter of the Department for Transport’s THINK CYCLIST campaign and its Bikeability scheme. We are also working with ROSPA to promote better road safety education for children from an earlier age.

Think Cyclist

RAC technical director David Bizley said: “The RAC welcomes any measure which helps improve safety for all road users and clearly with the growing interest in cycling there is a need for greater prominence of cycle safety. Many of our members are cyclists as well as drivers and we are keen to see greater awareness of the needs and risks presented by modern road use to, potentially, vulnerable cyclists.”


The RAC also believes that young children should be taught the basics of road and cycle safety at an early age. The Department for Transport’s Bikeability scheme is a 'cycle proficiency' for the 21st Century! If you're thinking about getting on your bike, why not complete your Bikeability?

It's fun and gives you the skills and confidence to cycle in modern road conditions.

As well as promoting the THINK CYCLIST campaign within the company, the RAC also offers colleagues the opportunity to buy discounted bikes under the ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme. The RAC has many enthusiastic cyclists who regularly take part in charity cycle rides.

The RAC provided patrol support for the Tour of Britain Cycle Challenge in September 2012.

Key facts:

  • 80% of cyclists hold a driving licence and 50% of RAC members are regular cyclists.
  • The RAC actively campaigns for additional Government investment in roads and road safety measures to benefit all road users.
  • The RAC is also calling for more spending on public road safety campaigns to address key safety issues including: speeding; drink and drug driving; mobile phone and social media use at the wheel; child safety; and cycle safety.
  • The RAC’s Report on Motoring 2012 identified the behaviour of other motorists as one of the key issues for drivers. 28% of drivers aged under 45 admitted to regularly texting, accessing the internet and using social media at the wheel. The RAC has championed road safety messages advising of the dangers of using mobile phones and social media when driving and has called frequently for the Government to invest in a hard-hitting road safety campaign.
  • The RAC welcomes the significant investment and improvements made by cities like London and Bristol to the road network and urban infrastructure to promote and support cycling and better safety for cyclists. We are now working with other cities, like Birmingham, to encourage the adoption of similar approaches.
  • The high cost of motoring is dramatically changing our use of cars and our members are increasingly choosing to cycle and use other transport alternatives in an effort to save money, as well as improve their own health and fitness.