We all want to enjoy our cycling experience and in order to do this we must ensure that we are a safe as possible! I thought I’d write a small piece on how to stay safe on the roads.
Rules of the road.
I would advise that anyone, before embarking on their bicycle, seriously study and make sure that they are au fait with the Highway code for cyclists. This can be found here.
It is worth mentioning that you are not required by law to wear a helmet, but, and this goes without saying really, if you have a brain in your skull you will naturally want to protect it!
Always do a preliminary check of your machine before leaving on a journey, check your tires, chain, cables and most importantly your brakes! Without decent brakes in good working order you will not stop, fact!
Safe navigation of the road.
-Never make sudden movements whilst riding on the road, this could cause an accident, either between yourself and a car, or it may cause a collision between two other roads users.
-Stay attentive and think ahead. If possible avoid using headphones, or do as I do, and ride with one earphone in, preferably the left ear because most of the roads traffic should be passing on your right!
-When passing lorries/busses/parked cars and when turning right always, ALWAYS, do a lifesaver! (A lifesaver is a staple for motorbike riders, and if one is not performed in their test they will fail. I think it is as important for cyclists to perform such checks as it is for motorcyclists). A lifesaver is effectively a shoulder check, looking over your shoulder to make sure nothing is coming to cause you any harm before you pull out. This sounds obvious but this check will potentially save your life.
-I am stating the obvious now, but always obey the road laws! You are, afterall, a road user too. You are no different to a car, motorbike, lorry or bus! Stop for red lights, and obey give way rules at roundabouts and pedestrian crossings.
Winter and night time riding.
Rule 60 of the Cyclists highway code states that “At night your cycle MUST have white front and red rear lights lit. It MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector”.
As the weather in the UK has a mind of it’s own it is advisable that you wear some warm and highly visible clothing, avoid dark colours, go for lighter colours such as bright fluorescent greens, not very stylish I know, but neither is a hospital gown. Not only will you make it easier for drivers to see you, you will keep yourself nice and warm too! Evans have a decent range of high visibilty gear, and Aldi’s often have one day sales on ycling clothes and equiptment, where you can pick up, waterproofs, windproofs, gloves, overshoes etc for a great price, cheap prices but not cheap production, it’s worth a gander!
Us cyclists can be very vulnerable out on the road, but if we look out for ourselves and obey the law we can make cycling a much safer and enjoyable experience!