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Cycling Offences and Safety Laws

Like motorists, cyclists have a responsibility to drive safely. There are several offences that the law prescribes in relation to cycling.

Dangerous cycling

An offence committed by any person who rides a bicycle in a manner that would be considered dangerous by a competent and careful cyclist; danger of injury to any person, or of damage to property. The punishment for dangerous cycling is a fine, subject to the court’s discretion, of up to £1,000.

Careless cycling

An offence committed by any person who rides a bicycle without due care and attention and consideration for others. The punishment for careless cycling is a fine, subject to the courts discretion, of up to £1,000.

Cycling whilst under influence of drink or drugs

An offence committed by any person who rides a bicycle whilst unfit to do so through drink or drugs. As this could be considered dangerous cycling, it can carry a fine of up to £1,000.

Cycling on the pavement

It is an offence to cycle on any pavement that gives right of way to pedestrians. Police officers and Community Support Officers can issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for this offence, which carry a fine of £30 though it is possible to incur a fine of up to £500. There are, however, guidelines in place that advise officers to issue a fine only if the cyclist is acting in a way that endangers others.

Other offences

  • to carry a passenger unless the bicycle is adapted to carry two or more people (tandems);
  • to race or have a trial of speed on a road unless authorised;
  • to disregard a red light (which carries a £30 Fixed Penalty Notice);

A cyclist in Telford in 2006 was fined for obstructing motorists by using a road and not a cycle lane. This is not a specific offence but can be enforced.


It is not a legal requirement to wear a helmet whilst cycling, however, it is strongly recommended for your own safety.

Motorbike Law

Motorcyclists are subject to more stringent laws than cyclists – motorcyclists are legally required to wear helmets, and they must get a licence to ride. Visit our motorcycle law section for information on driving licences and other motorcycling laws.

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