Your position on the road

Riding in the correct position on the road is important for safety and helps traffic flow freely. In Great Britain, you should normally keep to the left side of the road and ride in the centre of the traffic lane.

Your exact position will depend on

  • how wide the road is
  • the road surface
  • your view ahead
  • any obstruction.

You should ride in a position that allows you to be seen by traffic ahead, and be seen in the mirror of any vehicle in front of you. If the traffic coming towards you needs room to pass obstructions such as parked cars, move over to the left.

Do not ride too close to the gutter, where there may be potholes or loose grit. Avoid riding in the centre of the road because you might

  • obstruct traffic overtaking you
  • put yourself in the path of oncoming traffic
  • encourage traffic behind you to overtake you on your left.

You must not ride

  • on the pavement
  • on the hard shoulder of a motorway
  • on a cycle lane.

Keep scanning the road ahead of you to see when you might need to change your position in the road, such as when there are roadworks, inspection covers or oil spills. Make sure you move in good time so that road users behind you can see what you’re doing.

When you need to change your road position, use the Observation – Signal – Manoeuvre/Position – Speed – Look routine to check

  • ahead of you for road users coming towards you
  • your mirrors and blind spots for vehicles behind or beside you.

Lane discipline

In some places, lanes are marked on the road to help guide traffic and to make best use of the road space. Lane discipline means using the correct lane for where you’re going and following the lane markings. This helps to avoid congestion and keeps traffic flowing safely, especially where traffic is heavy.

Make sure you move into the correct lane in good time. If you find you’re in the wrong lane and you do not have time to change lane safely, carry on in your lane and find another way back to your route.


If you’re overtaking another vehicle, you’ll need to move to the other side of the road. As this puts you in a position where vehicles are driving towards you, you must be sure that the road ahead is clear enough for you to overtake and get back to the correct side of the road safely.

It’s really important to only overtake in a place that’s safe and legal. Never overtake

  • if your view ahead is blocked
  • if other drivers might not be able to see you
  • if there’s too little room
  • if the road narrows
  • if you’re approaching a junction
  • if there’s ‘dead ground’ – a dip in the road that could hide an oncoming vehicle.

See The Highway Code for rules and advice on overtaking (GOV.UK).

Back to top