nsct level three

National Standard for Cycle Training 2012
Level 3 outcomes
Observed Demonstration
1 All Level 2
All compulsory Level 2 outcomes
They should demonstrate Level 2 on roads appropriate to Level 2 by
riding a circuit that includes all the relevant manoeuvres,
accompanied by their instructor.
2 Preparing for a
The trainee should demonstrate an awareness of how to
prepare for a cycling journey. This may include:
route planning using maps or electronic journey planners
Cyclists may want to take the quickest as well as the safest route to
their destination. If there are particular junctions or road features
that they would prefer not to use, trainees can plan their route to
avoid these using maps or electronic journey planners. However, a
key part of Level 3 training is to stretch the trainee’s ability, so
where the instructor feels the trainee is capable of dealing with
difficult junctions safely they should not unnecessarily avoid these.
ii) an awareness of how weather conditions can affect their
cycling and choice of clothing/equipment
iii) an awareness of options for carrying luggage safely when
iv) an understanding of how to carry a child safely on a bike
v) equipment and techniques for cycling at night.
It is important that both the instructor and trainee are prepared for
their cycle trip in the prevailing and forecast conditions. This may
involve carrying luggage or additional clothing, locks or accessories.
It is also important to make the trainee aware that some conditions
raise the risk of injuring themselves, such as snow and ice.
Lights must be used at night and reflective clothing is
recommended, though good positioning remains an important way
of making themselves visible when cycling at night. In poor visibility,
all movements should be made more cautiously and the trainee
should allow greater time for other road users to see them and
understand their intentions.
Last updated: November 2012
advanced road
Observed Demonstration
The trainee must demonstrate confident use of the
primary position in a variety of traffic environments.
They must also demonstrate an understanding of when
other positions in the road may be more suitable and be
able to explain why.
The primary position is the default position for negotiating Level 3
junctions but there are some circumstances when a different
position may be taken:
A trainee waiting in a traffic queue may position
themselves to the right of the lane to be visible in the wing mirrors
of queuing vehicles, particularly when queuing behind HGVs.
When waiting behind or in front of large vehicles such as
HGVs, trainees must not wait or cycle too close.
At junctions where there are many cyclists present, trainees
should find a safe place to wait in situations where they are unable
to position themselves in their preferred position (e.g. when the
cycle box is full). This should be a position where they are visible to
other drivers – it may be in the primary position within the traffic
queue or between lanes.
Last updated: November 2012
Passing queuing
Observed Demonstration
Upon encountering queuing traffic, the trainee may pass
it (on the right or left) or may choose to wait in the queue.
Trainees who choose to pass queuing traffic must do so
with care and make frequent observations.
If traffic speed changes while they are passing, trainees
will need to check for a gap that will enable them to move
into the stream of traffic in order to negotiate junctions
safely. This may require them to move out across more
than one lane of traffic.
Trainees who choose to wait in the queue should take the
primary position in the centre of the lane.
Upon completing the manoeuvre, trainees must be able
to explain the reason for their choice, identify any hazards
they may have encountered and explain how they dealt
with them.
Where there is a left turn trainees must never pass to the
left of a long vehicle, bus/lorry at the head of a junction.
(See outcome 6 understanding driver blind spots.)
Passing queuing traffic gives the cyclist a great advantage in busy
urban conditions but must be carried out carefully. The choice of
whether to pass or wait rests with the trainee who must judge if
there is sufficient space and time to do so safely. Their choice
should also be informed by whether they are turning left or right or
going straight on.
Whichever option the trainee chooses, they should communicate
with drivers in the queue to make them aware of their presence and
their intended manoeuvre.
Trainees should be able to demonstrate patience and a willingness
to wait if passing the queue does not help their journey.
Trainees should be able to change their riding strategy if the
situation in the queue changes (e.g. the queue starts to move or a
vehicle starts to signal).
Trainees who choose to pass queuing traffic should be encouraged
to pass on the right where they are more visible to drivers and other
road users. All round observation and awareness is essential as
other vehicles may move unexpectedly or be hidden from view.
If passing a queue, trainees must make careful observations and be
prepared to stop for:
traffic in the queue that may turn across them
nearside doors opening in queuing cars so that passengers
can get out
oncoming traffic that drivers in the queue allow to turn
right through a gap in the queue
vehicles from the left pulling out of side roads or driveways
etc. into their path.
Last updated: November 2012
perception and
strategy to deal
with hazards
Observed Demonstration
Trainees must understand that a safe strategy is founded
on good observation and planning, confident clear road
positioning and good communication with other road
A safe cycling strategy, which will include hazard perception, must
be acquired by a cyclist if they are to complete Level 3 of the
National Standard. This can be assessed watching practical cycling
and careful questioning of the cyclist.
They should demonstrate from their observations,
positioning and signalling that they are confident and in
control of their cycling.
An example, breaking the system into three parts, used by one
cyclist training provider, is as follows:
If stopped and questioned they should be able to name
hazards ahead and around them and explain how they
would deal with these.
Where am I going? - Look ahead and identify the course needed to
avoid hazards and make manoeuvres.
What do I need to know? - Observe all around for other road users
(including pedestrians) who may cause obstruction in the course
selected or who need warning of intentions (a signal).
What do I need to do? - This will depend on the information
gathered in the previous part. It may mean stop, signal, before
taking up the position required and/or completion of the
manoeuvre. Completing a manoeuvre as a pedestrian is a valid
Last updated: November 2012
driver blind
particularly for
large vehicles
Observed Demonstration
The trainee must demonstrate an ability to avoid cycling
or waiting in driver blind spots, particularly the blind spots
of drivers of large vehicles.
They must demonstrate an understanding of what a blind
spot is, identify vehicles for which blind spots are a
particular problem (large vehicles such as Heavy Goods
Vehicles (HGVs) and buses) and the danger that cycling in
a driver’s blind spot poses.
To avoid cycling or waiting in a driver’s blind spot at a
junction, the trainee may choose to wait behind or
overtake but should only overtake on the right, not on the
When waiting behind a large vehicle or overtaking a large
vehicle, trainees should position themselves where the
driver can see them.
Trainees must never cycle up the left side of a large
vehicle stopped at a junction.
This may be combined with the passing queuing traffic outcome, or
as a separate demonstration. Cycling in the blind spot of a driver of
a large vehicle is extremely hazardous and should always be
avoided. Particular hazards are when large vehicles turn left or
when cyclists stop too close to the front of a stopped large vehicle.
The 'stay safe, stay back' advice applies to cyclists when cycling near
to a moving large vehicle or approaching a stationary one on the
road, at junctions, traffic lights or in slow moving traffic.
Whether they choose to overtake a large vehicle or wait behind,
trainees should look into the driver’s mirror and seek to make eye
contact so that the driver is aware of the trainee and the trainee’s
intention. Trainees who choose to overtake a large vehicle should
look over their shoulder and seek to make eye contact with the
driver once they are past.
Last updated: November 2012
Reacting to
hazardous road
Observed Demonstration
Trainees must be able to identify potentially hazardous
surfaces and make appropriate responses.
On encountering a potentially hazardous surface, the
trainee may choose to:
cycle over the hazardous surface
ii) avoid the hazardous surface
The trainee should be encouraged to explain the reason
for their choice and any other actions they take.
Surfaces that are particularly hazardous to cyclists include:
Slippery surfaces (ice, water, oil, wet leaves etc.)
Roads with potholes
Uneven surfaces (such as cobbles)
Metal surfaces (grids, manhole covers)
Poorly maintained surfaces (e.g. unswept cycle lanes)
Tram lines
Level crossings
Speed humps and cushions
Trainees should spot the hazardous surface early and decide their
course of action well in advance.
If trainees encounter a slippery surface, they should reduce their
speed and take extra care turning or braking. They should not brake
or steer suddenly. Trainees who choose to cycle over a hazardous
surface should steer as straight as possible and meet the defect
square-on, take their weight off the saddle (to reduce discomfort)
and release the brakes.
When crossing a tramline, trainees must do so at as close to a 90
degree angle as possible.
Last updated: November 2012
The following outcomes are not compulsory.
How to use
How to use
controlled by
traffic lights
Observed Demonstration
As the trainee approaches the roundabout they must
check behind and move into the primary position when
safe to do so, signalling if necessary.
They should stop at the give way line, if it is necessary to
give way to traffic on the roundabout.
They should carry out a final check behind before setting
off. They should maintain the primary position while on
the roundabout.
Before exiting the roundabout, they must check to the left
and behind and signal left, if necessary.
When using a junction with traffic lights trainees should
always take up a position in the centre of the lane that is
appropriate for the manoeuvre they wish to carry out
whether or not the traffic is flowing or stationary as they
approach the lights. They must carry out observations
and signalling as necessary in the same manner that they
would for an ordinary junction.
Where the lights change to red they should stop in the
appropriate position (see outcome 3), unless it is safe to
move to the head of the queuing traffic (see outcome 4).
If they are turning left at the junction they must carry out
a left shoulder final check for undertaking traffic before
completing their turn.
When cycling across the junction to complete the
manoeuvre, trainees must continue to carry out
observations as appropriate for traffic that might not stop
at the red light and cross their path.
The primary position should be used on roundabouts as it makes
the trainee more visible and prevents vehicles from overtaking.
Trainees will therefore use the roundabout in the same way that
any other vehicles would and when using a lane they have chosen
should take up the primary position. Observing how cars use the
roundabout can help them understand this. This position should be
maintained throughout the manoeuvre.
Trainees need to identity the hazard spots at all points during the
manoeuvre. They should make eye contact with drivers who need
to be aware of them and/or signal clearly.
To ensure they are visible to other road users, trainees should use
traffic lights in the same way that any other vehicles would and
when using a lane they have chosen should take up position in the
middle of it, as a car would. This position should be maintained
throughout the manoeuvre.
If present in the training area, trainees should also be observed
using toucan crossings and/or cycle-only traffic lights.
Last updated: November 2012
10 How to use
multi-lane roads
10.1 Where the trainee can match the speed of the traffic flow
they should take the lane that will facilitate the
manoeuvre they intend to carry out.
10.2 Where there is a long length of multi-lane carriageway
before a turning that the trainee wishes to take and the
traffic speed is faster, they can choose to stay in the left
hand lane until nearing the point where lane selection is
necessary and then move across making appropriate
observations and signals (see other outcomes for
appropriate methods).
Lane discipline exists on many urban roads and on many of these it
is usually best for the cyclist to take the lane and cycle with the
traffic. However, where speed limits are above 30 mph they will be
unlikely to feel safe in doing so and they may therefore take the
secondary or other appropriate position.
Where frequent changes of lane in fast moving traffic would be
required to undertake a journey on a chosen route this might be a
case where an alternative, quieter route might be chosen.
10.3 When turning into a multi-lane road the same will apply. If
they can match the speed of the traffic then they should
take the lane appropriate to the manoeuvre they intend
to carry out ahead. If not, they should use the left hand
lane until they need to move across.
Last updated: November 2012
11 How to use both
on and off road
11.1 The trainee must demonstrate good observation,
signalling and clear, confident positioning when cycling in
areas with on and off road cycle facilities.
11.2 Trainees must demonstrate how to use advance stop lines
(ASLs), cycle boxes and knowledge of how they might help
their journey.
In the UK no cycle facilities are compulsory for cyclists to use.
Therefore the choice over whether to use any facilities provided
should be on the basis of whether or not they will give the cyclist
any advantage in terms of safety and/or access. This will be for the
individual cyclist to decide. Staying in the normal flow of traffic
rather than use a cycle facility is therefore a valid choice.
Cycle facilities are of varying quality. The choice of whether to use
facilities should always lie with the cyclist. If they feel confident and
safe using a facility then they should use it as appropriate. Trainees
should, however, be aware that some drivers may not know that
cycle lanes are optional for cyclists. In this case, the trainee should
take extra caution when moving to a position outside the cycle lane
that drivers may not expect them to take.
Confident and competent cyclists should always be able to set off
more quickly than motorists. This is not only because they can
accelerate more quickly over the first 20-30 metres but because
they can also see more and therefore be better prepared for setting
off. The provision of advance stop lines (ASLs) with cycle boxes is a
recognition of this and also the fact that the cyclist is safer when
they can set off ahead of other traffic rather than alongside it. An
ASL makes it easier for the cyclist to take the lane they have chosen.
The downside of some ASL designs is that the lights may change as
the cyclist filters up on the left and they may be trapped there and
unable to move across safely into the lane from which they want to
exit the junction. In this case cyclists may feel forced to move across
lanes of traffic moving at different speeds and expose themselves to
additional risk. If the cyclist is uncomfortable with using the ASL and
its filter lane they should simply carry out the manoeuvre as if the
ASL was not there.
Last updated: November 2012
12 Dealing with
12.1 Trainees must demonstrate an ability to deal with vehicles
vehicles that pull
that may stop in front of them such as buses, taxis and
in and stop front
delivery vehicles.
of you
12.2 Trainees must be able to decide whether to overtake the
vehicle once it has stopped in front of them and, if
appropriate, demonstrate overtaking it safely.
12.3 Trainees should allow extra room when passing and
ensure that they have sufficient time and space to
overtake, particularly when passing long vehicles.
12.4 If questioned, the trainee should be able to explain the
reason for their choice of manoeuvre.
Cyclists are likely to encounter vehicles that stop or turn in front of
them on most urban journeys and in most cases, will be required to
overtake such vehicles.
The technique for safely overtaking is the same as the Level 2
outcome 7 – ‘pass parked or slower moving vehicles’, but with the
additional skills of:
identifying when a vehicle is likely to stop (e.g. buses
approaching bus stops, taxis approaching ranks)
reacting to vehicles which stop suddenly
overtaking vehicles which may start to move off shortly
before or while the trainee is overtaking.
good decision-making skills when choosing whether or not
to overtake, bearing in mind that the vehicle may move off at any
Vehicles that stop or turn suddenly in front of cyclists include (but
are not limited to) taxis / private hire vehicles, buses and delivery
Trainees do not need to give way to vehicles trying to pull out but
must take extra care when passing such vehicles and should seek to
ensure that the driver has seen them. However, trainees should give
priority to buses when they signal to pull away from stops, if they
can do so safely.
If a vehicle starts to move during the overtaking manoeuvre, the
trainee may choose to slip back behind the vehicle if it is the safest
thing to do.
Last updated: November 2012
13 Sharing the road
with other
13.1 Trainees must demonstrate effective communication and
positioning techniques when cycling in areas where other
cyclists are present.
When overtaking a cyclist, trainees should use the same technique
as for the Level 2 outcome ‘passing parked cars or slow-moving
13.2 This includes:
When overtaking a cyclist using a cycle lane, the trainee must
combine the techniques for the Level 2 outcome ‘passing parked
cars or slow-moving vehicles’ with the Level 3 technique ‘how to
use multi-lane roads’. Trainees should be aware that overtaking a
cyclist in a cycle lane is effectively the same as changing traffic
lanes. They should be aware that following drivers may not expect a
cyclist to leave the cycle lane and make appropriate observations to
ensure following drivers have understood their intention to
Awareness of other cyclists passing inside them - this is
demonstrated by making appropriate observations over
the left shoulder.
ii) An ability to overtake a cyclist and awareness of when it is
safe to overtake and when they should wait.
iii) Taking an appropriate position at junctions where the ASL
reservoir (cycle box) is congested with other cyclists. This
may be in the primary position within the traffic queue, in
the filter lane, or on the line between lanes.
14 Cycling on roads
with a speed
limit above 30
14.1 The trainee should demonstrate that they allow more
time before manoeuvring and that they can judge the
speed and distance of vehicles around them. They should
be able to explain the reasoning for the decisions that
they make.
When using the primary position at junctions in areas where other
cyclists are present, trainees should be aware of other cyclists using
the secondary position. They should look over their left shoulder
On roads with higher speed limits, trainees should be aware that
drivers have less time to react and stopping distances are greater.
Whilst the principles of positioning remain the same on faster roads
cyclists may opt to take the secondary position more often. When
using the primary position, trainees should take greater care to
ensure that drivers have enough time and space to see them. When
manoeuvring, trainees should signal earlier (where necessary),
move out earlier and allow more time to complete the manoeuvre.
Last updated: November 2012
15 Cycling in bus
15.1 Trainees must be able to interpret bus lane signage and
understand how it affects their journey.
15.2 When cycling in a bus lane, trainees should take the
centre of the lane unless it is safe to let vehicles pass.
Trainees should demonstrate an ability to decide when to
allow a vehicle to pass them when cycling in a bus lane.
Cyclists are permitted to use most bus lanes but there are some
which do not permit cyclists. Bus lanes may operate at different
times of the day and may also be shared with taxis and motorcycles.
As with cycle lanes, the trainee should not allow the presence of a
bus lane to influence their positioning.
Buses should normally overtake a cyclist by straddling the lane line
but this may not always be possible. Trainees should not allow a bus
to pass them if they feel there is insufficient room to do so.
Trainees should take particular care where bus lanes cross side
roads, in case drivers cut across them to turn left. Trainees should
also be aware of illegal use of bus lanes by unauthorised vehicles
trying to jump a queue of traffic; they may not be looking out for a
16 Cycling in pairs
or groups
16.1 Level 3 training itself requires cycling in a group or a pair
so the trainee will gain an understanding of group cycling
techniques during the session.
16.2 Trainees should demonstrate taking responsibility for
their own positioning, signalling and communication when
riding in a group.
16.3 If the training session has more than one trainee they
should demonstrate that they can effectively
communicate to cycle together safely.
Each cyclist remains responsible for their own positioning, signalling
and communication with other road users but cyclists may help
each other by calling out any hazards such as potholes or other
vehicles. In general, cyclists should not ride so close to each other
that they cannot react to a sudden movement or stopping of the
cyclist in front. It is up to the trainee to determine the appropriate
distance based on how experienced the other members of the
group are, how effectively they communicate with each other and
how well they know each other’s style of riding.
Although cyclists may ride two abreast, trainees should be aware
that this may aggravate some other road users. When riding two
abreast, trainees should make extra effort to communicate with
following traffic and be aware when they might need to move back
into single file.
Last updated: November 2012
17 Locking a bike
17.1 Trainees should demonstrate an understanding of safer
places to lock their bike (busy, overlooked cycle parking)
and the preferred type of cycle stand to use (i.e. those
which allow both wheels and the frame to be secured).
Cycle parking in busy areas or areas overlooked by people in
buildings is generally safer than more isolated cycle parking areas.
Bikes that are parked overnight in a public area are particularly
vulnerable to theft.
17.2 They should be aware of the pros and cons of different
types of lock and which parts of the bicycle to lock to the
Cycle stands which allow both wheels and the frame to be secured
to the stand are preferable to cycle stands which allow only one
wheel to be secured. The trainee may choose to remove any parts
of the bike that a thief may be able to detach easily.
17.3 They should also demonstrate awareness of different
parts of a bicycle that can be removed by thieves (saddles
and wheels with quick release catches, lights and light
brackets, pannier bags etc.)
Recommended locks are rigid steel locks in a D or U shape (and
therefore known as D-locks or U-locks) which are generally more
difficult to cut. Cable locks tend to be less strong and easier to cut.
Trainees should fill the D part of a lock with as much of the cycle as
possible to reduce the chance of it being smashed open.
Where a cycle parking area is poorly located in an isolated area, the
trainee may choose to lock their bike to an immovable object (e.g.
railings or a road sign) in a more visible area where this does not
obstruct pedestrians. In such cases, the trainee should look out for
any signage prohibiting cycle parking.
Last updated: November 2012