A recent case in the news involving an accident where a cyclist killed women has brought to light the UK’s bicycle laws.

Charlie Alliston was charged and subsequently cleared of manslaughter after he crashed into the woman. His bike did not have a front brake. These kinds of bikes are made for speed, but not built for road use. They are favoured for use in Olympics and velodrome racing.  Although expensive, they aren’t fitted with a front brake, and only have back brakes to slow them down.
The Pedal Cycles (and Use) Regulations 1983 states very clearly that all bikes manned on the roads have to be fitted with two braking systems. A front and a back brake.

So can you cycle on the pavement?

If there are signs specifically stating not to cycle on the pavement then you should stick to the road – keep with that rule of thumb and you should be fine.
If you’re also in a highly pedestrianized area, you should dismount and push your bike so you don’t become a hazard for others.

Other laws

Strangely enough, many rules that you might think apply to cyclists actually don’t – bicycles aren’t motor vehicles which leaves huge loopholes for dangerous and reckless biking.
You can legally use your phone while biking, but it is not advisable to do so – you could lose control and crash, potentially harming yourself or others.
You could also be charged with a ‘not paying due care and attention’ offence.
Also legally speaking, you can drink and cycle. But if you are drunk and attempting to bike you could be given a hefty fine of £2,500. It’s illegal to try and ride a bike on the roads while ‘unfit to ride through drink and drugs’.

What about a helmet?

You’re also not legally obliged to wear a helmet at any age, however, safety always comes first. The ETA advises all to wear a well-fitted helmet while biking to prevent further injury in case of an accident. Children should also be given extra care and given chin and elbow pads.
And lastly, although cyclists can’t technically be pulled over for speeding – if you are deemed to be going too fast – under the 1847 Town Police Clauses Act you could be given a fine for ‘cycling furiously’.