THIS week Cyclox has published a new document that provides a simple and practical summary of your rights and responsibilities when you use a bike on the road.

Produced with the help and support of organisations across Oxford, this rights and responsibilities leaflet will be made available as widely as possible as part of Cyclox’s ongoing campaign for initiatives and facilities to get – and keep – more people on their bikes for more of their journeys to and around the city.

Riding a bike shouldn’t be a contentious issue, but you don’t have to spend long in the saddle to realise that it often seems to be the case.

Cyclox thought it would be useful to remind people who use bikes in and around the city, some of whom may not have been riding a bike on the road for long or may not have ridden for a long time, of what they should be able to expect from other road users and what other road users should be able to expect from them.

Our starting point was, of course, the Highway Code, which has quite a few things to say about riding a bike on the road, even some of them are not as obvious as they might be. For example, when you are on a bike you have the same right to use the road as every other road user and you have the right to the same amount of space as a car. You have the right to care and consideration from drivers.

You have the right to use a cycle lane free from the infringement of cars but bike lanes are there for your safety and convenience, which means you are not obliged to use them.

The other side of the argument – literally in the case of the Cyclox document – is your responsibilities as a bike user.

You must obey the rules of road, including all the signs and all the traffic lights. You must not cycle on the pavement and you need lights and reflectors when riding at night. You and your bike must be in an appropriate condition to ride safely on the road and you should show care and consideration for other road users.

The Cyclox leaflet is not exhaustive but it is clear, quick to read and it does reference the relevant Highway Code sections should you or anyone who tells you to get out of their way because you “don’t pay road tax” (it still happens) care to look them up.

Cyclox also adds a couple of notes of its own, reminding bike users that they should be confident of their place on the road and proud of their contribution to the city. The leaflet also reminds us that a little courtesy goes a long way and that the rules of road are for the safety of cyclists as well.

None of this is ground-breaking information nor should it be particularly contentious but sometimes we all need reminding that riding a bike is part of the solution rather than part of the problem and that we all need to be an ambassador for the bike.