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What is the order of priority on the cycle path?

What is the order of priority on the cycle path?

The use of two-wheelers such as bicycles or scooters is starting to become more widespread in urban areas, whether for a desire to contribute to the conservation of the environment or simply to avoid traffic jams. Despite the fact that cyclists are not required to have a driving license, they must follow the Highway Code, which provides for specific arrangements to ensure the protection of the most vulnerable users. Cycle paths are one of them. This is important in the face of the many fatal accidents that affect bicycle traffic. But how do you get around on a cycle path? Who has priority? Here are some tips on prioritizing these lanes.

What is a cycle path?

According to article R110-2 of the Highway Code, this is a development of a track, dedicated exclusively to two or three-wheel cycles as well as to personal motorized means of locomotion, used by individuals over 8 years old. The cycle path is completely separated from the road by means of a non-passable median or a low wall. It is governed by regulations to function properly, in order to guarantee the safety of cyclists as well as that of other road users.

priorite piste cyclable

The origin of this concept dates back to the Netherlands in 1885, following a request from riders of two-wheelers for a specific space dedicated to them. The first "cycle pavement" of the French appeared in Paris, along the avenue de la Grande Armée in 1897. Its construction has been popularized since 1990. Note that more and more people use bicycles in large cities after the 1995 strikes in Paris and the COVID health crisis in 2020.

Its characteristics

The cycle path is installed on the sidewalk or completely isolated to protect cyclists from motorized vehicles. Reserved only for cycles, the entrance to this space is preceded by a blue sign and round shape. Unidirectional, this track is 2.16 m wide and 3 m if it is bidirectional to facilitate movement. If, however, it is against the flow of road traffic, adding an additional 50 cm strip is strongly recommended.

The benefits of a traffic lane reserved for cycles

The roadway for bicycles is essential in the face of the dangerous flow of road traffic, despite the separation of queues for drivers of vehicles traveling at different speeds. Cyclists can also get in the way of automobiles. Also, this arrangement saves users of non-motorized two-wheelers from the risks associated with a collision. It is possible to easily discover your bike routes thanks to an application accessible on your smartphone.

What is the difference between the cycle path and the cycle lane?

Before discovering the priority order on the cycle path, you must first know how to distinguish between these two types of facilities, which are indeed different. In fact, cycle paths are queues reserved for cycles, separated from the carriageway. In addition, a cycle lane is a section devoted to bicycles, or also to buses, which is an integral part of automobile traffic.

With a width of 1.5 m, the space is delimited by markings on the ground, a continuous or broken white line without relief, and indicated by a bicycle pictogram. Either way, cycle paths and lanes serve to protect pedestrians and cyclists. They also have the same objective of greenways.

The priority rules on these roads

The traffic rules state that priority on the cycle path is always given to cyclists.The latter remain priority when traveling on this reserved lane, unless road markings or lights indicate otherwise.

Cycle lanes are generally dedicated to cycles, vehicles with two or three wheels, boosted exclusively with the help of the muscular energy of their drivers, via pedals or cranks. Mopeds, scooters and wheelchairs are also allowed to use these spaces. However, the priority rule does not apply to a cycle lane.

piste cyclable bicyclette

Users of cycle facilities are also subject to the rules of the Highway Code. They are obliged to follow the regulations relating to pedestrian crossings, traffic lights and “give way” signs. As for the direction of movement on the runway, the space can be one-way or two-way. In the latter case, it sits on both sides of the road and traffic flows to the right of the road.

Riders have the option of riding alone or side by side. Regarding priority, a cyclist riding on these reserved lanes must comply with the Highway Code, mainly the priority on the right. For example, if a vehicle coming from the left wants to cross the cycle lane, it will not have the right of way. If the exit of this greenway leads to the road, the cyclist will gain priority over the cars arriving behind.

Obligations for cyclists

Like the drivers of other types of vehicles, cyclists must follow the standards in force. Thus, it is necessary to use a bicycle turn signal or simply extend an arm in the direction you want to turn to change direction. To be able to ride in complete safety, the bicycle needs to be equipped with good brakes, full lighting consisting of front and rear lights that work correctly and a horn.

The possible sanctions for an infringement of the Highway Code

Every cyclist benefits from the responsibilities on public roads. In fact, violations of the cycle lane priority order or other rules are punishable by fines. Among other things, you should not use the phone or be under the influence of alcohol or drugs when riding a bicycle. The spaces dedicated to cycles are only reserved for these means of transport. They must therefore remain completely free. No stopping or parking is allowed.

Such an act on the pedestrian and cyclist traffic lane may be penalized by a fine or a withdrawal of points on the permit. Also, it is strictly forbidden to take a cycle path by motorcycle, car or any other unauthorized motor vehicle. Otherwise, you are fined or points will be removed from your driver's license. Sometimes motorized two-wheelers go there to save time or to escape traffic jams.

Many large cities provide two-wheelers with numerous passages and greenways dedicated to them for walks, hikes and bicycle trips. More and more people are taking this means of transport as an alternative to certain routes to get to work or to keep fit. It’s simple, economical and environmentally friendly. However, if you are traveling in an area where there is no lane reserved for cyclists, you will be required to park with motor vehicles.

What is the priority order on the cycle path if there are pedestrians?

As the cycle paths are exclusively intended for bicycles, priority is then given to cyclists.In addition, article R412-35 of the Highway Code stipulates that pedestrians have the right to walk inside this space, provided that they cannot use the facilities reserved for this purpose or if there are no sidewalks available for them.

Cyclists therefore have an interest in respecting pedestrian crossing. On the other hand, it is forbidden to pedal on the shoulders dedicated to pedestrians, unless you are a child under 8 years old. In case you have to use a pedestrian crossing on a bicycle, simply step off the saddle and push your machine by hand.

What to do at a red light?

Like all road users, cyclists should also watch out for traffic lights. Aside from the "right turn", it is also possible to turn left or go straight even at a red light, without deviating from the order of priority in front of pedestrians. Many cycle drivers are sometimes fined at traffic lights.

What speed on a cycle path?

The cyclist must respect the order of priority, signs and signs on the cycle path, but also the speed limits. In town, the authorized pace is 50 km / h, 30 km / h in zones 30 and 20 km / h within the meeting zones.


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