Cycling and the law

You should always bear in mind that nearly all areas of the Highway Code which apply to motor vehicles apply equally to cyclists. In particular:

  • It is illegal to cycle in the dark without lights, and without front, rear and pedal reflectors.
  • Cycling when drunk is illegal.
  • Cycling on the pavement is against the law.
  • Going against one–way streets or through red lights is against the law. The police are increasingly fining cyclists for cycling in the wrong direction on one–way streets, and for cycling without lights in the dark.

Breaking the law actively undermines efforts to improve cycling facilities in Cambridge, so please stay legal.

When cycling in the city centre, on largely car–free streets, it’s important to cycle with courtesy to pedestrians. It’s also important that you respect one way streets as irresponsible cycling will decrease the willingness of City and County councillors to improve facilities and access. By cycling carefully and being courteous to pedestrians, you’ll be doing your bit towards ensuring that the city centre remains a cycle–friendly place.

Registering your bicycle

The University requires all students to register their bicycles, so make sure you do this. If your cycle is stolen and recovered the codes can be used to return it to you. You can register your bike online through Immobilise, or simply at the Porters’ Lodge.

Cycle equipment


Locking your bike properly is important. As a general guide, so called D–locks, Dutch Dial locks and cable locks are ones to go for, but you should aim to spend £20–£25 on them to make sure you get one which will offer real protection against lock–smashing thieves. This may sound like a lot of money, but compared to the cost of a replacement bike the investment is minimal.


A good set of lights and reflectors is also very important. It is illegal and dangerous to cycle in the dark without them. Remember that the law stipulates that your lights should be fixed beam, not flashing. You may also wish to consider wearing bright, fluorescent, reflective clothing, to make you more visible.


Nobody ever expects to fall off their bicycle, but every year thousands of cyclists are involved in accidents (with around 70% of injuries being to the head). Look out for a sticker on the inside of the helmet which confirms it’s passed the quality standards. Foam–based helmets do not re–expand after impact so if you have an accident, buy a new helmet.

Cycle theft

Sadly there is a great amount of cycle theft in Cambridge. For this reason it is very important to buy a safe lock and register your bicycle. If your bike is stolen it really is worth reporting the theft to the police. It’s important that they know the scale of theft taking place, and where the current locations are. They also manage to recover a surprising number of bikes that are not reported stolen, and so can’t be returned to the owners.

To report a stolen bike call Cambridge Police on (01223) 358966.

Corpus’ “Cycle Safe” Campaigne

You should always remember to:

  • Wear a cycle helmet,
  • Wear reflective items allowing you to be seen by others, whatever the weather or time of day,
  • Have suitable front and rear lights on your bike,
  • Adhere to the Highway Code,
  • Be aware of other road users and pedestrians–cycling defensively will keep you safe,
  • Have your bike serviced regularly.

If you ride without lights and helmets you are putting yourself and others at risk of having an accident. You should also be aware that the local police carry out spot checks during the winter months to encourage students to purchase a set of lights and if you don’t have any it can lead to a fine.

Corpus is conviniently very near two bike shops where bikes be purchased and also serviced, so there’s no excuse for not doing it!

  • Ben Hayward Cycles (across the road) offer a wide selection of bikes for the serious cyclist, together with clothing, lights, helmets etc.
  • Cambridge Cycle Centre (on Botolph Lane) offer lower priced bikes.