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Turning Right From A Main Road Onto A Side Road


The safest way to cycle through road junctions is to use a systematic routine. This is especially important when turning right onto a side road as you may need to stop and wait in the middle of the road. The key things to consider are looking all around you, choosing a suitable road position, knowing who goes first at the junction and communicating your intentions to other road users.

To help you become a smarter cyclist we’ve broken up this right turn manoeuvre into clear steps. Using a routine like this is the best way to ride safely and more responsibly at road junctions.

Look behind to check it is safe before moving position

As you approach the junction look over your right shoulder to see what’s behind you. This is to check that it is safe to move into position. As well as seeing what is behind you, looking over your shoulder will signal that you are about to do something to other road users.

Move into position to emphasise that you are turning right

As you approach the junction move into a position that emphasises that you are about to turn right. Ride as far to the right of your traffic lane as you can without crossing over the centre line with any part of your body. A position that is about an arms-length from the centre line is good.

Signal your intentions to other road users

Once you are cycling in a position close to the centre line signal your intention to turn right with a hand signal. Hold your left arm out horizontally, three seconds is usually enough. Allow enough time for you to complete your signal, slow down and stop if necessary. Continue to look towards the junction and put your hands back on the handlebars before applying the brakes.

Look ahead and prepare to stop if necessary 

As you approach the junction look for oncoming traffic so that you can anticipate whether you will need to stop and wait for a suitable space. Regulate your speed as you cycle up to the junction and look for a suitable gap in the traffic. Be prepared to stop in a controlled way if there isn’t a safe space in the oncoming traffic.

CautionRemember that vehicles, including bikes, on the main road go first. This means that you don’t need to worry about vehicles who want to turn right from the side road as they will wait for you to go first.

If there is traffic ahead, stop opposite the centre line on the side road 

If there is no safe space in the oncoming traffic for you to turn you will need to stop and wait. Stop in a position where your front wheel is opposite the centre line of the side road. This means that you will be able to turn directly into the side road as soon as it is safe to go.

Put your left foot on the ground and position your right foot on your pedal with the crank arm in the 10 past 2 position. This will allow you to move off quickly when you need to. Keep your brakes on while you are stopped to prevent you from rolling forward.

If the road is clear, continue without stopping

You can continue without stopping if the road ahead is clear, or if there is a big enough space between vehicles in the oncoming traffic lane for you to complete the manoeuvre safely.

CautionIf you aren’t sure if there is enough space then stop and wait for the vehicles to pass before you continue.

Remain in primary position throughout the manoeuvre 

Stay in the primary position throughout the manoeuvre. As this is the most visible position it is the safest way to cycle through the junction.

Caution The primary riding position is in the centre of the traffic lane.

Adopting the primary cycling position, to highlight your presence to traffic ahead and prevent following drivers from overtaking, is especially important when negotiating road junctions.

Look behind before moving back into secondary position

Once you are cycling on the side road you can move back into the secondary position. Look over your left shoulder to check that another cyclist isn’t moving up inside before you move. Once it is safe to do so move back into the secondary position.

The Manouevre

The Manouevre - Turning right onto a side road

Be Smart Cyclist – View the other manoeuvres in our series