Signing for cyclists

Cycle routes are mainly indicated by signs and markings. They may be either on the carriageway, on footways either shared with or segregated from pedestrians, or specially designated cycle paths.

Toucan signals

These are special traffic signals which cyclists and pedestrians can use, which are similar to pelican crossings.

They have a red man and green man to show when it is safe to cross, but they also have extra signals, corresponding red and green cycles.

This means that cyclists need not dismount, but can cross over at the same time as pedestrians.

Pegasus crossing

These are special traffic signals which horse-riders, cyclists and pedestrians can use which are similar to pelican crossings − they have a red and green horse to show when it is safe to cross as extra signals to the man and cycle.

This means that horse-riders and cyclists need not dismount, but can cross over at the same time as pedestrians.

Advanced cycle stop lines

Within ordinary traffic signalled junctions, there are two sets of stop lines on each approach. The one furthest from the signals is for general traffic, and the one nearer to the signals is for cyclists. This is to give space for cyclists wishing to turn right to safely change from the nearside to the offside.

Advance cycle stop lines have a cycle symbol in between the two stop lines and normally have a 'feeder lane' on the left hand side of the carriageway to enable the cyclists to pass stationary traffic to get into the advanced cycle lane.

Contra-flow cycle lanes

When a one-way street is introduced this gives little convenience for motorists, but can mean that cyclists are able to travel against the direction of traffic flow on the one-way street in safety and offers a more convenient and direct route.

The problem is that for a safe contra-flow lane, the cyclists must be segregated at each end from the oncoming traffic by a traffic island. This can only be done if the road is wide enough. It may also need to have a parking ban throughout the length of the contra-flow lane. This can be difficult in some residential areas with limited off-street parking.

'Plug' no entry

This is where a road is two-way throughout its length except for a short length of one-way working at one end. This means that entry into the road is banned at one end and traffic is only allowed to exit.

To assist cyclists, a short gap allows cyclists to travel past the no-entry signs.

Advisory cycle routes

Usually an advisory cycle route has very few noticeable features, except for advisory cycle signs (a white cycle in a blue background) along its length and, often, destination fingerposts.

These routes are usually quiet back streets or 'green' country lanes where traffic levels are low which provide a pleasant ride or a shorter journey than main roads.

On-carriageway cycle lanes

On-carriageway cycle lanes can only be included where the road is wide enough to incorporate them. There are two types of cycle lane − mandatory and non-mandatory.

Mandatory lanes have a thick, unbroken, white line along them, and other vehicles are not allowed to cross into the lane at any time.

Non-mandatory lanes have a broken line along them and vehicles are allowed in them only if there are no cycles in the lane.

Shared use paths

Shared use paths are footways and footpaths that have had an order or notice put upon them, through the Cycle Tracks Act, to allow cycling along them.

They are engineered to be safe for all users, as most footways and footpaths are usually too narrow to enable cycling and it is illegal to ride along them.

There are two types of shared use paths − segregated and unsegregated. Segregated paths have a method of separation along them, usually a thick white line. This is to indicate that cyclists and pedestrians have to remain separate. It is illegal to cycle on the pedestrian side. Unsegregated paths allow cyclists and pedestrians to use the same space.

Care must be taken along both types and it must be remembered that pedestrians always have the right of way over cyclists.

Traffic signage

Details of current traffic signage and road markings can be found in the Highway Code (opens in a new window), which includes those that are applicable to cyclists.

For general enquiries on the provision of cycle lanes and routes please fill in our online fault reporting form

If you have your enquiry number, issued by the online fault reporting system, you can track progress on our online tracking form.