Rules of the road- how far should they be taken?

I’m currently reading ’ the official DSA guide to RIDING ’ which seems to have lots of good info in it for the initiate rider. I’ll then work my way through the Highway Code in preparation for my CBT.

But every time I check out road users, I find that many people are not using the road as they should.
There are, of course, many reasons why this might be the case -

  • lack of knowledge of what is correct,
  • lack of respect for what is correct,
  • current state of mind/ health among other things I can’t think of right now :wink:

In another post on another topic on, someone described London as this giant melting pot of corruption and semi-organic confusion with so much happening ‘on the sly’ and I can see that to often be the case, especially when the rules of the road are concerned.
So, it makes me wonder - exactly how seriously should I take the DSA’s rules and how are they applied practically in a day-to-day/ on the road riding situation?

I hope I have made my post clear.

Apply as needed to keep you and other road users and pedestrians safe. They’re there for your safety.
Don’t compare others bad habbits to your own…if they ran under a bus, would you follow?
Many a time I’ve been a right idiot on the road. Maybe because I’ve forgotton, or not paying attention, but I notice when others are really good riders, and they make me want to be the same - especially when it comes to patience and consideration. They’re good role models for me at least. I owe a lot of my riding skills to the few good examples shown by more experienced riders.

Also remember that the Highway code is a strange hybrid of motoring law and advice on best practice.

Where it says, “you must” (or must not), that’s the law. Expect a collaring if a policeman spots you infringing it.

Where it says, “you should” (or should not), that’s advice. Generally pretty good advice. Read it, consider it, decide how and when it applies to you and your riding.

There’s also the fact that pretty much all riders/drivers in London break several "must not"s on purpose.

e.g. - Filtering to the front of a queue of stopped cars at a crossing and going right to the front (not stopping between first and second cars)

  • bikers going into the cyclists’ “green box” (I followed a police bike into one the week before last. We exchanged nods and there was no problem)

  • pulling up slightly over the white line at junctions when you’ve filtered to the front, so that cars can see you/you can get a clean “getaway”

etc. I think you’re doing the right thing in learning the rules. Once you’ve had some experience, then I’d put money on it that you’ll feel it’s OK to use your judgement and choose which ones to observe and when.

Thanks very much everyone for the replies.
I was kind of expecting it to be like that, but it’s interesting to read what others feel about it.
Cheers, keep 'em coming!

There are two things you have to consider: what do I need to do to pass CBT/driving test? and what do I need to do to ride safely? Generally the answers to both questions are the same but other LBers have raised some good examples of when this may not be so.

I have have 35 years cage driving experience but only 1 year on the bike. Because bikes are so much less frustrating than cars I feel less pressure on the bike than I do in the car to go for every opportunity in the traffic . Also I am accutely aware of my vulnerbility on a bike and so I generally ride much more conservatively than I drive.

I think the key things are to be visible and predictable to other road users and keep a really good lookout. That generally means following the rules of the road.