Cyclist on pedestrian crossing and cycle lane crossing – who gives way?

Heikki Kallio Julkaisupäivä 31.10.2022 13.48 Blogit

Does the cyclist have the right to drive on using the pedestrian crossing and who is obligated to give way in that case? Is the driver of a vehicle on the roadway obligated to give way to a cyclist who uses the pedestrian crossing? And what about the obligation to give way in a case where the cyclists crosses the roadway using a cycle lane crossing?

Cyclist on a pedestrian crossing – who gives way?

The cyclist is allowed to cross the roadway using the pedestrian crossing. However, when the roadway is being crossed using the pedestrian crossing, the pedestrians should not be subjected to any danger or inconvenience (Road Traffic Act, Section 18 Subsection 6). In other words, the cyclist can cross the roadway driving along the pedestrian crossing as long as they remember that the primary user of this road element is the pedestrian. Therefore, the pedestrian must not experience any danger or inconvenience.

Although it is permissible for the cyclist to drive along the pedestrian crossing, it does not mean that the cyclist should be guaranteed unhindered passage on the pedestrian crossing. In fact, the rules of giving way on a pedestrian crossing differ and depend on whether the cyclists is driving or pushing the bicycle on the pedestrian crossing. The cyclist in the saddle is deemed to be a driver of a vehicle while the one walking the bike is a pedestrian. If the cyclist walks the bike on the pedestrian crossing, he is deemed to be a pedestrian who must be granted unhindered passage.

The Road Traffic Act (Section 27) also prescribes that when a vehicle approaches a pedestrian crossing, they must be particularly prudent and keep the speed so slow that they can stop the vehicle before the pedestrian crossing, if necessary. The pedestrian already crossing or about to cross the road must be ensured unhindered passage.

The cyclist is obligated to give way if they come from the cycle lane to the roadway and those on the roadway are not obligated to give way based on a traffic regulation or traffic sign. If the cyclists crosses the roadway using a pedestrian crossing located in a junction, the vehicle driver turning in that junction must give way to the cyclist crossing the intersecting road. Moreover, the vehicle driver on the roadway must give way to a cyclist who uses the pedestrian crossing if the vehicle driver is leaving a roundabout. 

If the cyclist drives over a pedestrian crossing, the rules of giving way are those applicable to vehicles as per traffic regulations and traffic signs. If the obligation to give way is not indicated by traffic signs, the order of giving way in a cycle lane and roadway junction follows the traffic regulation: “in a junction” the cyclist entering the roadway must give way to the roadway traffic arriving both from the right and the left. Irrespective of this, a turning vehicle must always give way to the pedestrian, cyclist or moped driver crossing the intersecting road.

Cyclist on cycle lane crossing – who gives way?

The road user on the roadway will give way to the cyclist on a cycle lane crossing. The obligation to give way is based on the traffic sign indicating the cycle lane crossing; The traffic signs indicating the obligation to give way are: 

  • Give Way (in an junction) (traffic sign B5)
  • Stop (traffic sign B6)
  • Give Way for cycles (traffic sign B7) 

Caption: The traffic signs indicating the obligation to give way in this photo (from the right) are the Give Way sign (an upturned triangle) and the STOP sign as well as Give Way for cycles sign, i.e., obligation to give way to a cyclist in a crossing. 

The Police urges the cyclists and vehicle drivers on the roadway to be careful and cautious in places where the cycle lane crossing is indicated with the respective markings on the road. 

According to the current Road Traffic Act, the markings on the road indicating a cycle lane crossing must have been in place as of 1 June 2022 in line with the regulations in Appendix 4.2 of the Road Traffic Act. The cycle lane crossing must be indicated with the road markings if the obligation to give way to those crossing the road is indicated by

  • the Give Way traffic sign,
  • the STOP sign, or
  • Give Way sign for cycles  

The Give Way sign in a cycle lane crossing place only indicates a crossing with a structurally raised section. However, in a crossing with traffic lights, the traffic sign can also indicate a cycle lane crossing without such structural features.

According to the information available to the Police, all cycle lane crossing have not yet been marked as required by the law. Cycle lane crossings with false markings may cause uncertainty and danger in situations involving potential give way obligations. It is therefore important that all road users are careful in traffic and pay attention to the traffic regulations covering the give way regulations.

The Police urgers the municipalities and parties responsible for road maintenance to mark, without any undue delays, the cycle lane crossings as required by the Road Traffic Act.

Have a safe autumn!

Heikki Kallio
Chief Superintendent
National Police Board of Finland
Twitter @PoliisiHKallio

Read the Road Traffic Act (729/2018) in Finlex (in Finnish)
Images of traffic signs, with explanations, are available at Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency