Cycling safely

A collection of council campaigns and resources to help you cycle safely.

Cycling is a very positive way of getting around the city. It's good for the overall environment, the cyclist's physical and mental health, and it's economical. The risk of being injured in a collision as a cyclist is far outweighed by the benefits to physical and mental health, estimated by a ratio of 20:1. The risks can be minimised both by awareness from other road users and the cyclists themselves. In our city cyclists form a significant proportion of our seriously injured road casualties. We run campaigns and events with partners to highlight how road users and cyclists can minimise the risks. This helps everyone share the roads and responsibility more effectively. 

Our cycle training pages here show you the courses we offer to help you be aware of best practise as well as learn how to maintain your own bike.

Road safety events

The Road Safety team runs events for cyclists. We also produce and distribute hard copies of the city cycle map which includes key safety information.  The online version does not have this but allows you to personalise a route.

Brighten up Brighton & Hove

The Brighten Up Brighton & Hove campaign  reminds cyclists about the law and the need for bike lights in October each year. In 2017 during commute time, over 80% of cyclists had effective lights. We distributed hi-vis/reflective rucksack covers and basic lights to 400 cyclists who were not prepared. Over 42% of collisions in the city are because people fail to look properly. It is vital that you can be seen easily on the roads. We worked with East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service again in October 2019, as well as doing some activities during the year. Bus drivers highlighted in a recent survey that cyclists without lights/hi-vis in the night was one of their major concerns.

Make sure you can be seen on the roads - both by lights/clothing but also by your road positioning.  Most collisions happen at junctions.

Exchanging Places - raising awareness of blind spots

Exchanging Places is a joint venture between East Sussex Fire and Rescue, our road safety team, HGV businesses and bus companies. (Day Aggregates/Stagecoach/B&H buses/Lancing Driver Training/East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service/Sussex Police). ITV Meridian ran a comprehensive news item covering the event in May 2019. We will be doing more events in 2020.

Together we're showing cyclists how they can or can't be seen from bus drivers’ points of view. Exchanging Places events are often combined with a week of enforcement beforehand, encouraging cyclists and other road users to minimise their risk on the roads. Cyclists can sit in the driver's seat of a bus or truck and discuss with experienced drivers each others' point of view. Watch the videos about what one cyclist learned and bus blind spots. If you can't make the event the Metropolitan Police have produced a VR video giving you a seat in the cab.

We often use the Safe Pass mat and Virtual Reality films to illustrate the safe distance, 1.5m, at which cyclists should be passed. The film gives drivers who don't cycle the experience of being a cyclist as they are passed too close.

Sometimes Dr Bike attends to do basic bike checks and repairs.

Limited supplies of high-vis jackets/rucksack covers for cyclists and blindspot mirrors for drivers will be available. Just turn up and find out how to best position yourself for safety around large vehicles. We also hope to illustrate the specific difficulties articulated lorry drivers have this year which is useful for all road users. 

Share the Space, Drop your Pace

The Share the Space, Drop Your Pace campaign encourages cyclists to slow down on shared paths for vulnerable pedestrians, and for pedestrians to be aware of cyclists. It is especially important to be careful as some vulnerable people may not be visibly disabled, but can be seriously intimidated by fast cyclists near them.

Safe Pass

We are aiming to run Safe Pass action days with Sussex Police again in 2020 to highlight to drivers the need to give cyclists a safe 1.5m gap when they overtake. Hampshire Constabulary released a demonstration video about passing cyclists. Find more information on the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership website. We also use the Safe Pass mat with a virtual reality film to illustrate to drivers the safe overtaking distance and the feeling of being overtaken too close.

Safer Urban Driving CPC course for HGV/PCV professional drivers

With Lancing Driver Training Ltd our cycle trainers deliver the certificate of professional competence module, Safer Urban Driving. This gives drivers the experience of being cyclists on the city's roads. Infrastructure and other changes are put in context, which encourages drivers to be more aware of the challenges cyclists face on the roads, what the current training advises cyclists to do, and why. Watch the trainer gives an explanation of the course. It compliments the Exchanging Places activity. In London, TfL and Crossrail demand drivers have completed this CPC module before the driver works on one of their contracts. Some of our tender documents for contracts now have this requirement as well. For more information on the course please contact and visit our  advice for businesses web page.

Wear a cycle helmet

We recommend using a bike helmet when cycling. The public health benefits of cycling far outweigh the risks, but a cycle helmet is an effective way of minimising catastrophic injuries to the brain in about 15% of serious injury collisions. We insist on helmet use on our courses and cycling events. Our lead trauma surgeon at Sussex County, Dr Goldie Khera, a keen cyclist, recorded this video on his work and why his team want helmets to be used.

The Road Safety team strongly recommend the use of a correctly fitting cycle helmet.  Further information is available in this Department for Transport report.

The Highway Code

Familiarise yourself with The Highway Code rules 59-82 for cyclists.

It contains advisory and compulsory rules for cyclists. You can also read our advice in the documents below. 

Also avoid riding too close to the kerb and parked cars, where practical.

Cycling in spring and summer

Please ensure your bike is road worthy, particularly if it has been stored outdoors over the winter. See below for links to skills and maintenance training providers, Highway code rules on cycling, signalling, junction safety and blind spots.

Cycling in autumn

The Brighten Up Brighton & Hove campaign runs each Autumn when the clocks are about to go back. Visibility is a key issue for cyclists at this time of year. Please use your lights!

Cycling in Winter


  • warm hands are essential for proper braking, but take care not to impede use of brake levers
  • toes remain relatively motionless even while pedalling so wear thicker socks

Riding in icy conditions

  • always assume there will be ice after a cold night and start out cautiously. Even if it seems clear, there may be ice hollows in dips or turns
  • reducing tyre pressure can give better adhesion on slippery surfaces and is worth doing if there is a lot of snow or ice
  • make every move – starting, cornering and braking – gently
  • ride in a lower gear than normal. You are more stable pedalling than freewheeling as long as you are not pedalling too hard
  • if you see ice ahead that you can’t avoid, keep going in a straight line
  • skidding can be caused by sudden braking, acceleration or turns
  • if your back wheel skids, this can often be corrected by easing off power and freewheeling a little, steering straight
  • if your front wheel skids, try to keep your body upright. If your saddle is low enough you may be able to put a foot down quickly enough to counter the skid

Snow and slush

  • fresh, uncompacted snow is easy to cycle through and it can be best to keep to parts of a road not yet travelled by other vehicles
  • ridges of ice produced by thawing and refreezing of snow can present serious difficulties. If in doubt, get off and walk
  • don't be rushed by traffic, or pushed into roadside slush, but try to keep out of other’s way where possible

 Fog and mist

  • use lights as if it were night time
  • high visibility clothing can be a real benefit
  • keep closer to the road edge than usual so you can follow the road and to allow for the fact that others might not see you
  • keep your speed down as you will have less warning of potholes and other obstacles
  • increase following distances – fog and mist can seriously impair braking
  • hearing is important in reduced visibility – do not wear headphones. Listen carefully for the movements of other vehicles
  • don’t hesitate to shout or use your bell to alert others of your presence

Based on Cyclecraft by John Franklin. TSO, Norwich 2007 (4th Edition).
(This is the handbook used by Bikeability Trainers)


Visibility, particularly in the winter months, is essential for your safety. High visibility clothing and accessories will greatly enhance your chances of being seen at night. Over 40% of collisions happen because people fail to look properly so it's important to make sure you're visible. It's recommended that you ride 1 metre from the kerb, where safe, so you can be seen, especially at junctions. Overtaking parked cars is also a hazard, beware of drivers getting out of their door.

The law requires cycles to have a white front light and a red rear light with a red rear reflector. You are also required to have amber pedal reflectors if your bike was made after 1 October 1985.

Cycling on pavements

Pavement riding is illegal unless it's a shared use path. Please consider the impact on vulnerable pedestrians (the disabled, elderly and very young) of pavement riding. It is intimidating and an impact could inflict much more serious injuries than you think. If you do not feel safe cycling at the busiest junctions, dismount and use pavements and crossings to wheel your bike to a point where you can safely resume cycling. Cyclists should only ride on Toucan crossings where red and green lit cycle symbols are shown.

Seafront cycle route

Be aware that many first time visitors to our city may not be aware of the seafront cycle route. There are give way lines for pedestrians wishing to cross. If you are in a hurry, use the road. Find out more about cycling on the seafront.


One of the best ways to improve your safety, skills and confidence on a bike is through training.

We provide Bikeablility courses for children and young people and have recently had funding for adult cycle and maintenance training.

Bike for Life and M’s Cycles also run a range of courses, including maintenance, for adults.

Cycling in Bus Lanes

Cyclists can also use most of the bus lanes. Some central city bus lanes and corridors (bus/taxi/cycle only roads) do not permit cycling but you will be able to use the road or off road cycle routes at these points. Look for the signs at the entrance to the bus lane. When cycling in the bus lanes, please be aware of the blind spots around buses and other large vehicles. Never undertake on the left side (nearest the kerb).

From May 2012, a trial on the use of bus lanes by motorcycles on two sections of city bus lanes is permitted. This does not include the central city and motorcyclists should not use the Advanced Stop Lines (ASL’s) at junctions.

International cyclists

Below is the cycling safety video Keep Cycling, Keep Safe which was created by Bournemouth University and Bournemouth Council.

Traffic conditions vary greatly from country to country, so the idea of this video is to help keep international cyclists (as well as others) safe on UK roads. The combination of images, graphics, text and voiceover are designed to make it accessible to all students, even those with very basic English.

More general information is available at Sussex Safer Roads Partnership - Safer for Cyclists and cycling in Brighton and Hove.