Using a systematic routine is the best way to cycle safely through a road junction. Looking all around you, communicating your intentions to other road users, choosing a suitable riding position and prioritising who goes first at the junction are all important.
To help you develop a smart cycling routine at junctions, we’ve broken down this manoeuvre into clear steps. This will enable you to ride safely and more responsibly.
1Look behind to check it is safe before moving position
Look over your right shoulder to see what’s behind you as you approach the junction. Do this to check that it is safe to move into position. As well as seeing what is behind you, looking over your shoulder will tell other road users that you are about to do something.
2Move into the primary position as you approach the junction
From the secondary position (to the left of the traffic lane about an arm’s length away from the curb) move into the primary position (in the centre of the traffic lane). Cycling in the primary position while negotiating a junction means that you are more visible to other road users.
If there are no vehicles behind, or there is a suitable space between the vehicles then you can move into the primary position. Adjust your speed as necessary, so that you can move safely into position.
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.
3Signal your intentions to other road users
Signal your intention to turn left when you are in the primary position. Hold your left arm out horizontally, three seconds is usually long enough. Allow enough time to complete your signal before you reach the junction. Put your hands back on the handlebars before your turn and adjust your speed if necessary.
4Remain in primary position throughout the manoeuvre
As those on the main road go first at junctions and you don’t cross another traffic lane, you won’t need to stop and give way to other vehicles during this manoeuvre. When you turn into the junction make sure that you stay in the primary position.
Cycling in the primary position is the safest way to negotiate a junction. This is because overtaking at a junction isn’t safe, cycling in the primary position is the best way to discourage drivers from passing you when they shouldn’t.
5Look behind before moving back into secondary position
Once you are cycling on the main road you can move back into the secondary position when appropriate. Before you do that give a quick check over your left shoulder to ensure that there isn’t another cyclist moving up inside you.