Should a cyclist dismount their bike in a pedestrian crossing? This is what the Highway Code really says

Do cyclists have to get off their bike to use a pedestrian crossing? The Highway Code finally provides an answer.

Should a cyclist dismount their bike in a pedestrian crossing? This is what the Highway Code really says

Do cyclists have to get off their bike to use a pedestrian crossing? The Highway Code finally provides an answer.

The number of cyclists continues to increase in our cities and cycle paths and road markings have flourished in recent years, not without sometimes posing some problems of cohabitation between motorists, bikers, cyclists and also pedestrians. The Highway Code is gradually trying to adapt to these new practices and the layout of our streets. However, it is essential that everyone, pedestrians and drivers alike, know the traffic and priority rules that apply. While most are known and obvious, some situations can be confusing. This is particularly the case for cyclists crossing pedestrian crossings.

First of all, let us recall that according to article R. 412-34 of the Highway Code, when a roadway is bordered by sidewalks or passable shoulders, pedestrians are required to use them, to the exclusion of pavement. In addition, article R. 412-37 specifies that pedestrians must use the passages provided for them, the famous "pedestrian crossings" when they exist within 50 meters.

So what about cyclists? Can they also use the pedestrian crossings? The answer is no, except in one particular case. Please note that according to the Highway Code, cyclists are considered pedestrians when they drive their bicycle by hand. In this case only, they can travel on the sidewalk and cross on pedestrian crossings. Apart from these exceptions, cyclists must travel on the road and respect the signage and priority rules in force.

However, certain specific arrangements may be dedicated to them. This is the case for cycle paths or lanes which sometimes run alongside pedestrian crossings. In this case, the Highway Code provides for an exception that few uses. You can recognize this case by specific ground markings: white stripes near the pedestrian crossing, framed by ground markings with a bicycle design.

If this marking crosses the street and is right next to a pedestrian crossing protected by a light, then cyclists can pass through it on their bikes. However, certain rules must be respected. Unless otherwise indicated, cyclists are also required to respect the traffic lights regulating the crossing of pedestrians, as stipulated in article R. 412-30 of the Highway Code. In other words, like pedestrians, they must stop if the pedestrian light is red and can only cycle if the light is green.

Did you follow everything? To summarize: in the vast majority of situations, a cyclist must get off their bike if they want to use a pedestrian crossing. He must then drive his bike by hand and cross while respecting the priority given by the lights. If there is a marked cycle path along the pedestrian crossing, the cyclist can however stay on their bike but must stop at the red light and only cross when it is green, like pedestrians. Here is what the Highway Code says about this situation. One piece of advice though, in all cases, caution and mutual respect between users, cyclists, pedestrians and motorists, remains essential to guarantee peaceful coexistence on our roads.

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