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We specialise in helping people throughout the UK make no win no fee personal injury claims for accidents caused by the negligence of others.

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Do cyclists have to stop at red lights?

Do cyclists have to stop at a red light? The simple answer is yes. You can easily get fined for running a red light, stop sign, or even zebra crossings as a cyclist. Following the rules and laws of the Highway Code is extremely important and plays a significant role in keeping you as a cyclist and other road users safe (and free from paying potentially unnecessary fines).

We will shed some light on the reasons why you can get fined for running a red traffic light and how you should approach traffic lights in the UK. The UK has many special traffic lines and other signified spots for cyclists to use on the road, especially when it comes to traffic lights.

If you have been injured by a cyclist who ran a red traffic light, you may also be eligible to make a personal injury claim against them. Our guide will also explore your options for personal injury compensation.

Is it illegal for a cyclist to run a red light in the UK?

According to the Highway Code, it is illegal for any road user to run a red light, cyclists included. If you run the red light, you are not only endangering your own life but those around you as well.

According to the National Cycling Charity, cyclists sometimes feel the need to jump red lights for safety reasons. They feel safer moving into the open spaces at the junctions rather than waiting for the lights to turn, surrounded by cars. As valid as this point might be, it is still illegal, and all rules and regulations under the Road Traffic Act and Highway Code should be followed with care.

Can cyclists be fined for going through a red light?

Given that you are required by law to stop at a red light, cyclists can be issued a £50 fixed penalty notice if they are caught jumping the queue and cycling through a red light. However, if the case goes to court and the cyclist is found guilty of a more severe offense, such as dangerous cycling, the fine can be up to £1,000.

As a cyclist, you need to take extra care at traffic lights; you can’t be reckless when you see red. Forget about the legal implications – you are risking life and limb, quite literally. If you are in a hurry (aren’t we all), it is best to choose a quieter route or leave earlier. Back streets and cycle tracks are the perfect alternatives if you want to avoid traffic lights.

It is important to note that penalty points are not applicable to cyclists for jumping red lights in the UK. However, repeat offenders can still face serious consequences.

Still, statistics have shown that cyclists frequently jump red lights in the UK, with evidence of over 4,000 cyclists receiving penalty notices each year.

Do cyclists have to stop at zebra crossings?

Like all other road users, cyclists need to stop at zebra crossings if pedestrians are waiting to cross. Every pedestrian at a crossing has the right of way over vehicles and cyclists. If you are cycling or driving, you have no option but to stop.

One of the most frequent complaints from pedestrians and drivers is that cyclists run through red lights and zebra crossings. Cyclists need to keep a lookout for pedestrians and should always be ready to slow down and stop when approaching a crossing. Failure to comply may result in a hefty fine, and a potential personal injury claim made against you if you cause somebody an injury as a result.

cyclist stopped at red light

Should cyclists go to the front at traffic lights?

Filtering past the queue of traffic to the front is legal and sometimes even encouraged with Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs). ASLs are those little green box outlines that indicate where cyclists can position themselves ahead of the lane. It is indeed safer for everyone if cyclists get through the junction first.

That said, when approaching a traffic light on a bicycle, you should shift into a gear that allows for a quick pull away. Always assume that you may need to stop, so be prepared. Never cycle recklessly to get through a green light, trying to get past it quickly before it changes.

When the light is already amber, you need to be prepared to stop at the line as you approach it. If you have already crossed the stop line while the light was green, it should still be safe to cross – quickly! Stopping too abruptly might also cause an accident, so always keep your eyes on the cars around you. It is also wise to remember that you should only cross over when the light is already green and not while changing.

If the lights are red (this should go without saying), you need to stop behind the solid white line.

What is an advanced stop line, and how do you use it?

Advanced Stop Lines are there to help keep cyclists safe. The lines were first introduced to the UK in 1986 and have proven to work exceptionally well.

An ASL shows a little box that is used for cyclists to stop in, as we have mentioned above, and an additional line for cars and other vehicles further back. There is also a reservoir area between the two lines for cyclists to make their way past waiting vehicles.

When approaching a red traffic light, you need to be careful and pass any traffic queues before stopping in the ‘bike box’ of the ASL. If you are turning left or right, you should also position yourself accordingly to the side you will be turning into.

Making a personal injury claim against a cyclist

Taking a quick walk to the shops can easily change into a harrowing experience if you’re injured by a reckless cyclist. If a cyclist was negligent and caused you injury or harm, it may be possible to pursue a personal injury claim against them.

Equally, if you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident due to a negligent driver or a pothole, you should be entitled to claim compensation against the party responsible.

Before negotiating with a third-party insurance company on your own, seek out the expert guidance of a personal injury lawyer to tackle the claim for you. This applies to any road traffic accident, including car, pedestrian, or bus accidents.

After an incident, adrenaline is likely pumping, but it is essential to try and stay calm and gather as much information at the scene as possible.

If you have been injured through no fault of your own, your compensation could go a long way to restore your dignity and amenity. The compensation amount will consider your general pain and suffering and any additional expenses, like ongoing medical treatment and loss of income.

Don’t run a red light!

Cycling is easy on the pocket (and the environment), but you should cycle with care and caution. Cyclists, drivers and pedestrians should always keep a lookout for each other, especially at traffic lights, zebra crossings and stop signs.

If you have been injured within the last three years and would like to find out if you can make a bicycle accident claim, call 0800 678 1410 to speak to a trained legal adviser. Alternatively, you can arrange your free consultation by entering your details into our online claim form.

During your free consultation, a legal adviser will ask you a few questions about your accident and injuries and will be able to advise you if you could be entitled to receive compensation.

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Last edited on 7th Jun 2024

With over 15 years in the legal industry, Nicholas Tate has a wealth of knowledge and experience covering all types of personal injury and clinical negligence claims.