10 Safety Tips for Cyclists
1. Wear Safety Equipment
IT goes without saying that you shouldn’t be on the roads if you’re not wearing a helmet. If your helmet has been involved in an accident, or has any damage whatsoever, then replace it. Otherwise you may not be getting the same level of protection. Make sure your helmet is properly fitted. If you’re not sure how to do it right, any good bicycle shop will be more than willing to help you adjust it as necessary.
2. Be Seen
If you are riding at night, or even if you think you might get caught out as it gets dark, you need a set of lights. High visibility clothing is also a good idea. Remember, it’s a carriageway, not a catwalk. Who cares if you look like Mr Blobby, it’s about increasing your chances of getting home alive.
3. Avoid Fast, Busy Roads
If you can, stick to cycle paths where possible. If this isn’t feasible, country lanes and quieter roads are better than fast, dangerous roads. These routers are usually so much more beautiful and enjoyable to ride, you won’t notice an extra 5-10 minutes on your journey time.
4. Follow the highway code
Some cyclists think it’s okay to run red lights and ignore stop and give-way signs. Well, it’s not. Not only will this get you a fixed penalty notice, you’re much more likely to be involved in an accident. Please be considerate of other road users. If they have to follow the rules, so should you.
5. Own the Road
Keep away from the kerb. This will give you room to swerve if necessary and avoid accidentally hitting the kerb. Ride central on country lanes. Cars won’t be tempted to squeeze round you, which would be very dangerous.
Use proper signals to show other road users your intentions. Where possible, make eye contact so that you are aware if other road users have seen you.
6. Keep Clear of Parked Cars
One particular danger for cyclists is car doors opening. People tend not to notice cyclists before opening their doors. A stationary vehicle can also pull out unexpectedly.
You may be tempted to put your earphones in during a ride. Hearing is our second most important sense on the road, it’s not a good idea to restrict it. If you absolutely must have music, just put one earphone in so that you can hear traffic with the other ear.
8. Keep Away from HGV’s
Large vehicles such as lorries have a restricted view and can cut corners. Don’t ride on the inside of large vehicles or too close.
9. Maintain your Bike
Before heading out, quickly check your brakes and tyre pressure. Make sure that your wheel release nuts are tightened properly. Ensuring that your bike is in good working order could prevent you from losing control at the worst possible moment.
10. Avoid Bad Weather
If you can avoid riding in snow or rain then do so. Bad weather severely impedes stopping distances for both cars and bikes. Winter cycling, when the sun is low in the sky can also be dangerous, particularly for drivers with the sun in their eyes.