Thanks to the success of the British cycling team over the past decade or so, a lot of people are taking their two-wheelers onto the roads.
It’s great to see: not only is it great for the environment to ride a bike rather than drive a car, but it also helps you get super fit and stay healthy.
However, let’s not beat around the bush – everyone should be aware of the grave dangers of cycling. 100 people were killed riding a bike in 2015, and there were almost 19,000 ending up with an injury, so the chances of getting involved in an accident are still way higher than anyone would like to see.
With all this in mind, we thought we would pull together some ideas to help you ensure your own safety on the roads. Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know.
9 Way To Stay Safe On Your Bike:
Do Your Proficiency Test
The cycling proficiency test – or ‘Bikeability Test’ as it’s now called – is not a legal requirement.
However, it will teach you valuable skills on how to ride the roads safely, and you will also find out about your responsibilities as a cyclist.
Yes, anyone can ride on the roads, but as soon as your wheels touch the tarmac, you have some rules to follow. We’ll go into these a little later, but for now – make sure you are a proficient cyclist before even considering road biking.
Take On Board Your Legal Duties
As we discussed above, you are bound by certain rules when you ride a bike on the road.
The reality is that if you break these rules, it’s going to impact your safety, result in arguments with other road users and also increase your chances of being stopped by the police.
For example, everyone knows that you are obliged by law to use lights when cycling in the dark. But did you also know you need the rear and pedal reflectors? Also, you are breaking the law by mounting your front light on the right of your handlebar. Sure, you probably won’t get stopped by infringing these rules, but they are there for a reason – to keep you safe.
Learn The Highway Code
The Highway Code isn’t just there for car drivers – it’s also an essential read for cyclists.
For example, how many times have you seen a cyclist ignore a red light, or use their bike on the pavement? Both of these examples could end up with you hurting yourself, or someone else. And it only takes a police officer in a bad mood to result in you ending up with a meaty – and entirely avoidable – fine.
Make yourself aware of your responsibilities and adhere to the guidelines laid out in the Highway Code – it will keep you safe, financially as well as physically!
Wear A Helmet
It’s crazy that so many people are still refusing to wear a helmet and invest in other safety accessories when on a bike.
It doesn’t matter how experienced or talented you think you are on two wheels, you cannot rely on other motorists, pedestrians, or cyclists to be as accomplished.
All it takes is a slight nudge on your back wheel for you to end up on the floor. So, forget about your pride and find a comfortable, safe helmet. This way, even if you do end up in an accident, at least you will have your brain functioning in good order.
Many cyclists end up in accidents because they don’t signal.
Car drivers aren’t mind readers, and they need to be able to see what you intend to do – if there’s no signal, they’ll assume you are carrying straight on.
Use your bell, too – it’s there for a reason. Not every pedestrian will be able to see you, and a bell ringing is an easy way of letting them know that a dangerous object is hurtling toward them.
Use A Head Cam
Head cams like the GoPro are a common sight on the roads these days and for a good reason. If – and let’s hope it never happens – you are involved in an accident and have to file personal injury claims, it can be difficult to attribute blame.
A GoPro will give you all the evidence you need to make your claim and will establish whether you are in the right.
Be Aware Of Vehicles
Just like many cyclists won’t signal to turn off, some drivers may not, either.
Faulty indicator lights occur more often than you might think, too. Ultimately, if you are travelling alongside the left of the car and they turn in your direction, it’s you that will end up in a lot of pain.
In fact, you should never, ever undertake any vehicle, even if it seems safe to do so. Coming into direct contact with a fast-travelling one-tonne vehicle will do a lot of damage.
Avoid Large Vehicles
Cyclists should be especially wary of large vehicles such as buses and lorries. Not only are they exceptionally powerful and dangerous, but they also have a lot more blind spots than small cars. It means that if you plan on overtaking a lorry, there’s an excellent chance the driver won’t see you until it’s too late. Many accidents involving cyclists are caused for this very reason, and it’s particularly prevalent around road junctions.
Surprisingly, a lot of cyclists get hurt on the road because they are indecisive and overly cautious.
The perfect example of this is cycling too close to the curb so that drivers can get around them a little easier. While in theory, it might seem like a defensive move, the reality is somewhat different. The closer you are to the curb, the more likelihood of a bump or stone causing your wheel to veer off into the curb. You would then end up falling badly – possibly into the direct path of an oncoming vehicle.
A busy road is not the place for meek and mild cyclists, and if you are lacking confidence, do a cycling course until you are comfortable.
We hope these safety guidelines help you travel on the road in safety – enjoy the ride!