All About the Rules of Road Cycling

The main rules of road cycling aim to protect cyclists and make the competition more professional. Do you know what they are? Find out with us!
All About the Rules of Road Cycling

Last update: 27 October, 2020

Road cycling is a demanding competition that takes place in different locations around the world. In this article, we’ll tell you all about the rules of this discipline.

The first-ever recorded test that we can call “road cycling” happened in 1868, outside Paris. A year later, the first race took place between this city and Rouen. In fact, the first cycling associations were those of Italy, Holland, Great Britain, and Spain. In 1892, the International Cycling Association was created in London.

Until 1915, many road cycling events came to life. Interestingly enough, some of them still continue to this day. The 1930s were very important in the history of road cycling in Spain and America. Actually, the competition was so successful that professionals started creating rules for it regarding the duration of the tests, distances, and categories.

Something we must highlight is the establishment of divisions or categories: Grand Tours, World Cup, HC, and UCI Continental Circuits.

The main rules of road cycling

If you’re interested to learn the rules of road cycling, either out of curiosity or because you’d like to compete, pay attention to the ones we’ll highlight. Let’s see what they are!

1. Pass the central solid line

Just as the rules establish, a cyclist can pass the continuous central line, (the one that delimits the lanes on the road). The aim of this is respecting the lateral distance with other cyclists when they decide to overtake.

In addition, in order to pass one or more cyclists, the individual must always pass over to the left, as is the case with the other vehicles in circulation. In this way, it’s possible to avoid all kinds of distractions or accidents and collisions.

A man practicing road cycling.

2. Pay attention to your bicycle at all times

This means that under no circumstances can a cyclist leave his bicycle unattended. For one, leaving it unattended can lead to theft. Secondly, it could cause some kind of accident; it can hinder the way and make other cyclists fall and become injured, for example.

3. Overtake safely

The rules of road cycling are very clear at this point. Basically, if you’re going to overtake, bear in mind your safety as well as that of the other cyclists. To achieve this, whoever wants to carry out this maneuver must slow down significantly. In this way, the cyclist matches the speed of the cyclists they want to overtake.

4. Keep to the right side of the road, an essential rule of road cycling

While it’s true that when a race is held on the road it’s closed to other vehicles that aren’t essential to the race, it’s very important to respect this rule. The same applies to training. Keeping a distance and staying on the right is vital in order to keep yourself and others safe.

5. Asphalt obstructions

If you want to compete in this discipline, you must keep in mind that not all the roads where you’ll cycle are going to be in perfect condition. In fact, many times cyclists have encountered different objects in the middle of the pavement. To warn other cyclists about this, you should point your right hand. This can be very useful in avoiding and preventing accidents.

On the other hand, cyclists are advised to do some research on the state of the road before training/competing. It’s vital to know about the difficulties that may appear on the road.

6. Group circulation

According to article 54 of the General Traffic Regulations, groups of cyclists are authorized to circulate in columns of two. On the contrary, they should stay in a line (one behind the other) during areas where there’s poor visibility, such as curves, foggy areas, or gradients, and as far to the right as possible.

A men and a woman cycling on a curve.

7. There are no exclusive lanes, an important thing to keep in mind about road cycling

Another of the road cycling rules has to do with the ‘shared’ use of the roads enabled for circulation. This means that, even on roads that have more than one lane, the cyclist will have to use the one on the right (not exclusively). This means that other vehicles (cars, motorcycles, trucks, among others) may also circulate on it.

Finally, other road cycling rules indicate that cyclists must wear a proper helmet and ride below the limit established on each road. As you can see, all these guidelines are fundamental in order to practice this discipline in the right way. We totally advise you to be aware of them before starting to practice!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.