Cycling is a good way of keeping fit and of seeing the countryside. It’s important, though, to recognise the need to be safe when cycling, especially on roads that may contain a lot of traffic.
Protection is a must for cyclists, and a helmet is necessary to help prevent potential head injuries. A helmet should be a good fit and be fastened properly. A helmet should also be worn every time you go out cycling – whether it’s a short trip to the local shops, or a 10 mile session.
In terms of safety, basic bike maintenance is also essential. If you haven’t used your bicycle for a few months or longer this is even more important. Check your brakes before using your bike on the road, and do so in your drive or on a path on your property. If using a bike with gears, test them as well.
Working lights are just as important as working brakes, especially during the autumn and winter in the UK. You should make sure that both your front and back lights are working before you venture out. Using a bicycle with faulty lights is a no-no, even if you plan on getting home before darkness falls. If you get held up, for instance, and you end up having a long distance to travel without lights, then you should get off your bike and walk the remainder of the distance home.
Use the correct hand signals and make eye contact with drivers, so that you are aware that you have been seen when you are turning round corners, for instance. Keep a safe distance away from the gutter. Being too close to the gutter means that you’re more likely to crash.
Always stay alert and be aware of where you are in the road. It’s always the sensible option to give right of war to any form of motorised transport, even if you think that it’s trying to ‘cut you up’. Bravado from cyclists in this kind of situation may just result in a serious injury.
Wear bright clothing during the day, but, more importantly, at night. A luminous sash will be one way of making sure that you are seen at night.
When available, always try and use cycle lanes. They are there specifically for the benefit of the cyclist, and to help make the cycling experience less stressful with less traffic around.