If the start of my journey is on a busy road, and there is a pedestrian crossing nearby, I often take advantage of the pedestrian phase of the crossing by mounting the bike, joining the carriageway and setting off while the lights are red for traffic already on the carriageway. (Making sure, of course, to take care of pedestrians and other users of the crossing.) This seems to me a safe and convenient way to join a busy road.

Is this common practice? Is it advisable? Is it Legal? I don't consider it "running a red" as I'm already over the stop line by the time I mount my bike, but I could see how it could be construed that way.

Likewise if I'm fortunate enough to "catch a red light" at a pedestrian crossing near the end of my journey, I might take the opportunity to dismount and enter the crossing from the carriageway, cross to the footway and finish my journey as a pedestrian. Is this also advisable/safe/legal? In this case I am crossing the stop line under a red light, albeit "as a pedestrian".

If it makes a difference to any of the legalities, I live in the UK - Scotland to be precise.

1 Answer 1


I doubt the Police would stop you for doing so if you're not causing a nuisance or danger to pedestrians or other road users. I've seen it done plenty of times by cyclists and done it myself.

The Highway Code rules that apply to this are:

Rule 64: You MUST NOT cycle on a pavement.

Rule 79: Do not ride across equestrian crossings, as they are for horse riders only. Do not ride across a pelican, puffin or zebra crossing. Dismount and wheel your cycle across.

At the start you should wheel your bike on to the road and start riding. If you're not on the crossing you are just taking advantage of stationary traffic.

At the end, you are allowed to get off your bike and wheel it across or onto the crossing. Pedestrians regularly enter crossings from the carriageway. Just make sure you have time to do so.

  • "At the start you should wheel your bike on to the road and start riding." - If I'm intending to join the far side of the carriageway (i.e. setting off in a rightward direction) would it be better to wheel the bike across the entire crossing, then join from the footway on the far side in the way you describe (which might require waiting for the next pedestrian phase)? Or just wheel across the crossing until I reach the right-bound lane and join the carriageway directly? Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 14:09
  • Just wheel the bike until you reach the "right-bound lane" then join the carriageway. Remember to take care that the traffic is still held at the lights.
    – KeithWM
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 14:26
  • 2
    And if it's specifically a toucan crossing with adjoining cycleway I'm guessing the same principles apply, but in this case there's no need to dismount in order to join the carriageway from the cycleway or vice versa? (As long as I'm doing it safely and not interfering with other road users.) Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 14:34
  • Correct regarding toucan crossings.
    – KeithWM
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 21:21
  • 1
    Hi Keith. I see you've started doing reviews. Welcome to the review queues! You may find this helpful: meta.bicycles.stackexchange.com/a/1028/8273 Cheers
    – andy256
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 11:00

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