Busting cycling myths with facts

17 March 2021    

Misconceptions about cycling contribute to a culture of conflict on the roads. Let’s share the facts.

The benefits of cycling are hard to dispute - improved physical and mental health, saving money and a dependable commute time plus improved air quality, reduced climate change emissions, less congestion and greater local economic spend. 

Unfortunately, some people resent those who travel by bike and serious injuries to people riding are increasing in parallel with the rise in cycling. Misconceptions and myths about cycling contribute to a culture of conflict on the roads. So how can we try and change our culture to a more cycling-friendly one?  

There’s no quick solution to this one but after infrastructure and enforcement, education is a key element of an effective road safety strategy.

Our Give Cycle Space campaign educates people about giving space to people on bikes and highlights the legal consequences, based on research that showed this was the biggest motivator.

As part of this campaign, we created a series of myths and facts to help #ShareTheFacts.

Myth: If there’s a bike lane, people on bikes should get off the road.

Fact: It’s not compulsory to cycle in a bike lane or on a shared pavement.


Myth: People on bikes shouldn’t move past stationary traffic.

Fact: Filtering is legal. People on bikes can ride past stationary traffic to keep moving.


Myth: People on bikes should cycle close to the gutter.

Fact: The centre of the lane is often the safest place to cycle to see the road ahead, be seen, and prevent close passes.


Myth: Cycling slows down road traffic.

Fact: Bikes take up less space and cause less congestion than cars.


Myth: Cyclists shouldn’t be in the middle of the road

Fact: It’s legal for people to cycle in the middle of a lane and it’s sometimes the safest place.


Myth: Cyclists don't pay road tax

Fact: Everyone pays for our roads through general and local taxation.


Myth: There’s no cycle proficiency training these days.

Fact: Cycle proficiency training is still happening in schools across Scotland… it’s just called something else now - Bikeability Scotland.


Myth: Cars have right of way over bikes

Fact: People on bikes have equal rights to people in any vehicle.


Myth: Cycling two abreast is illegal

Fact: It’s legal for people to cycle side by side on roads in Scotland.