Cycling is a great form of fitness that benefits the entire body. However, it can also be pretty dangerous if you don’t follow safety advice. Around 19,000 cyclists are killed every year in road accidents in the UK. A lot of people avoid cycling because they don’t like the idea of cycling on busy roads in a lot of traffic. However, thousands of cyclists use the roads every day as they embark on their daily commute to work, the gym and to the shops.
By making sure you’re aware of the basic rules of cycling safety, you’ll find cycling on the road much easier and less nerve-racking, so you’ll actually enjoy the journey rather than wishing it was over before you’d begun.
l Be sure to refresh yourself with the rules of the highway code, e.g. don’t skip red lights. Although the majority are obvious, you’d be surprised how many people ignore them
l Watch you speed if it is or has been raining, because it’ll take you longer to stop in these conditions and the roads are likely to be slippery
- Wear a helmet
- Don’t ride too close to the kerb
- Ride with confidence
- Ensure your bike is roadworthy
- Make yourself seen
- Make sure you ride in a position where you can be seen by other motorists
- Attach lights to your bike and wear bright, reflective clothing. This isn’t just a rule for the darker, winter months. In the summer you’re much more likely to find yourself out in low light
- Always signal clearly
- Try to make eye contact with other road users – at junctions etc. – so that you know they’ve seen you
- Use your bell whenever necessary as pedestrians won’t always see you or know that you’re approaching
- Watch out for other vehicles
Although everyone should signal, remember that not everyone does. Sometimes people forget so you should never ride on the inside of a vehicle at a junction because there’s every chance that they could be turning left. Junctions are the site of the majority of accidents involving cyclists, because situations are often misread.
You should also avoid riding on the inside of any large vehicles like buses or lorries. Buses often pull in at stops with little notice and the fact that the vehicle is so long means that the driver is unlikely to see you. The same applies to lorries. Often, at junctions where a lorry driver is turning left they will the junction wide, in order to be able to make the turning. A lot of cyclists make the mistake of cycling into the inviting gap that appears to the left of the vehicle, because it looks like the lorry is turning right. However, this gap quickly closes and can often leave a cyclist facing a number of ugly, dangerous options.
If you’re a new cycler or haven’t cycled for a while then some refresher training is a good idea to polish up your skills and help you regain your confidence.
Of course it’s not just cyclists that need to be aware of the motorists, other motorists need to be aware of cyclists and understand how and when it is safe to drive around them.
- If you drive a car, van, bus or any other vehicle then make sure you:
- Watch for cyclists riding up the near side of your vehicle when turning left in order to avoid cutting them up or causing an accident
- When overtaking a cyclist, give them a wide berth, don’t just brush past them
- If you’re driving at night and see a cyclist approaching, make sure you dip your headlights to avoid dazzling them
- If it’s been raining and the roads are wet then leave cyclists more room than you may do usually as the road surface is likely to be slippery
- It’s important to remember that cyclists have just as much right to be on the road as any other road user, so respect is essential
- If you are involved in a cycling accident then a good personal injury lawyer will help pursue your case and get you the compensation you deserve.