Cycling signs and road markings

Children walking past cycling sign

Most signs and markings relating to cyclists are self-explanatory, but it’s worth familiarising yourself with some of the more common ones.

Know the signs

Signs for cycling routes: You’ll see these signs when you’re on the National Cycle Network. The number relates to the route you are following with red for the National route and blue for Regional routes.

 

 

Signs for cycle paths: When you’re cycling on a traffic-free route, you’ll often be sharing it with pedestrians - knowing where you should be cycling will make you a safer and more considerate rider:

This sign, with no white lines, tells you that it’s a shared-use, unsegregated cycle and pedestrian route.

 

A white line in the sign indicates that it’s a segregated shared-use route for cyclists and pedestrians, so make sure you ride on the correct side. 

 

Road signs

If you see this sign it means you’re in a contra-flow cycle lane. This allows you to safely ride against the direction of flow of the one-way street and usually offers a more convenient and direct route.

Understanding road markings

Road marking can be really helpful as cyclists tend to spend a lot of time focusing on the surface in front of them. Road markings on highways are classified as traffic signs, and many cycle routes have the route number marked on the road, so it’s good to be aware of them.

Cycle lanes

Different types of road markings are used to indicate mandatory and advisory cycle lanes - often the lanes will be coloured green or red to help them stand out.

  • If you see a continuous white line it means that the lane is used solely for cyclists.
  • A dashed white line indicates that other vehicles can use the lane, which means you’re likely to have to share it with other cars and motorbikes, as well as parked cars.

Advanced stop lines for cyclists

These give you a visible area to wait, where you are segregated from other traffic. At the front of the queue, you can be seen, reducing the chance of a conflict as vehicles turn. You must stay behind the front stop line and go when the lights are green. Motorists must stay behind the first stop line and not obstruct the forward areas.