8 Cycling Safety Tips that keep you Safe on the Road
Cycle training on open roads presents dangers no matter how cautious you are. Traffic tends to be everywhere and most routes have plenty of blind spots. Cycle lanes are great when they have been positioned well, but not all car drivers seem to take notice of them.
In the countryside, roads and lanes are often covered with gravel and glass. This terrain can cause damage to your bike and is hard to ride on. The chances are car drivers are unaware of this.
With this in mind, we have put together cycle safety tips that will help keep you safe while cycling on open roads.
Respect the rules of the road
The rules of the road have to be respected at all times. This means no jumping red lights or riding dangerously in general. When you drive you show and receive consideration. This should be the same mindset when you are on two wheels.
Trucks and busses have ‘blind spots’
Trucks, buses and large vehicle shave blind spots or ‘dead angles’. This is where the driver will not be able to see you using mirrors. For this reason never ride up the inside of a bus or a truck. You could well be in the ‘dead angle’ when they make a turn and you will always come off second best in these circumstances.
Always wear a cycling helmet
It goes without saying that you should have a good quality helmet. This is the difference between a severe injury and a minor one. (See our blog: A word of Caution when Riding Fast). When buying a helmet ensure that it conforms to the current British standard which is BSEN1078 or the European standard EN 1078 as a minimum. If you can, find a helmet that conforms to Snell Foundation B90 or higher as that is the best standard you can get.
It is not actually law to make helmets that conform to these standards so do your homework before purchasing.
Hi-vis clothing advised
Even if you only ride in daylight it is still worth investing in good high visibility cycling clothes. Scientific research in Australia and Denmark suggests that wearing hi-vis clothes makes a cyclist more noticeable and reduces the chances of an accident.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of the Australasian College of Road Safety found that cyclists wearing a hi-vis vest together with ankle and knee reflectors were 15% more likely to be seen by a driver at night than cyclists who wore dark clothes. The movement of the ankle and knee reflectors tends to catch the eye of a driver.
Meanwhile, a 2013 Danish study published in Accident Analysis & Prevention found that cyclists that adorned hi-vis clothes were 47% less likely to be involved in a collision.
Use good lights
Always ensure you invest in good quality lights and that you carry spare batteries. If your rides are particularly traffic heavy you may want to consider investing in smart lights that detect when you are slowing down and flash faster to help keep you more visible when approaching junctions.
Change your cycling route
Changing your cycling route to take you away from main roads and busy junctions will not only help you stay safer, but the ride will be more enjoyable and you will get more from it.
You might also want to consider riding at times when roads are less busy such as early mornings.
Maintain your bike
It goes without saying you need to maintain your bike to at least a reasonable standard. As a minimum ensure your brakes are good and that the bike is mechanically sound.
Courtesy, Respect and Manners
At all times follow the rules of the road and show courtesy, respect, and manners. This often avoids accidents and keeps tempers cool.
Should the worst happen?
If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in a cycling accident always ensure you have your phone with you to call for help if possible. Once the dust has settled you may want to pursue a bicycle accident claim via a personal accident solicitor.
Always keep in mind that you are the most vulnerable vehicle on the road. You will always lose against a car even if the car driver is in the wrong.
You can see all of our safety tips by clicking here.