10 Top Tips to Stay Safe When Cycling
This week is Bike Week in the UK, designed to promote cycling and the benefits it can have on people both environmentally and socially and this year the focus is being drawn on encouraging people to cycle to work rather than drive.
With the potential for more of you considering taking up the challenge and cycling to work, we thought we would take this opportunity to offer ten tips to remaining safe on the roads while you are cycling.
Tip 1 – Plan your journey
Make sure you know exactly where you are going and how to get there. If you can, study the route to determine any potential areas where the cycling conditions could be hazardous and take into account that you may need to stop for a break if your journey is slightly longer. For help with this try British Cycling’s Mapping Tool
Tip 2 – Make sure your Bike is Roadworthy
Before heading out on any journey you should check your tyre pressure is at the right level and that your breaks are working sufficiently.
Tip 3 – Wear a Helmet
They may not be the most stylish item of clothing you wear but in the instance that you are knocked off your bike or you fall, they could be the difference between life and death.
Tip 4 – Follow the Highway Code
Sounds obvious but you would be surprised the number of people who fail to realise that cyclists are not a law to themselves when it comes to using UK roads and that they have to follow the same principles as drivers.
Tip 5 – Ensure you have lights in good working condition
Cycling without lights can be extremely dangerous and you can’t always predict when visibility is going to be good or bad. Always make sure that your lights work and always use them when visibility is poor or after dark so that you can see where you are going and so that other road users can see you.
Tip 6 – Where Light Reflective Clothing
Again this can be really important to ensure that other road users can see you when visibility is poor. You should consider wearing bright clothing if you are going to be cycling during the day and if any part of your journey requires you to cycle after dark then ensure that you have reflective clothing.
Tip 7 – Be Aware of other Vehicles
It is important, as a cyclist, to remember that you are a vulnerable road user and that in the instance where a collision may take place between yourself and another vehicle it is highly likely that you will come off worse.
Yes it is important that other road users are vigilant towards cyclists but it is equally important that cyclists return the favour, for your own safety more than anything.
To stay safe, avoid riding up the inside of buses, lorries or any other large vehicle. This way you will avoid them not being able to see you and hopefully an accident. Also be wary of cars turning at junctions.
Tip 8 – Ride Positively
You have as much right to be on the roads as a car, bus or lorry so make sure you ride positively and decisively. Make sure you offer strong signalling and make eye contact with drivers where possible to ensure they are aware of your attentions. Also, ride well clear of the kerb.
Tip 9 – Avoid Filtering
It can be easy to become impatient when traffic levels are high and you get stuck in the jam and the temptation to filter in between the stopped cars can be high but we recommend that you avoid doing this.
The thing with traffic jams is that there can be a lot of sudden movement should the road clear. It is also important to take into account that there may be traffic moving into a different direction to you and that you might just find you filter into their path.
The best practice here is to remain patient and wait your turn. Better to arrive late and safe, than to not arrive at all.
Tip 10 – Do some cycling training
Consider doing some cycling training to improve your understanding of cycling. This is particularly useful if you are just taking up cycling or are not used to doing longer journeys.
Visit the Bikeability website for information on becoming cycling proficient and getting certified for it.
*information sourced from http://think.direct.gov.uk/cycling.html