5 Essentials for Safe Cycling on British Roads
You might have recently purchased a bike with the aim of getting yourself fitter, or perhaps you intend to use it as a means of transport to and from work. Either way, you will probably find at some point that you are forced to use roads to get from A to B. Roads can be extremely dangerous and not using the right rules or planning poorly can result in an accident and being on a bicycle will put you in a more vulnerable position. The information here offers essential advice for road bicycle use…
Be Safe, Be Seen
Many accidents are caused due to drivers not being aware of cyclists or not seeing them due to poor visibility. Pulling up beside traffic at a stop can put you in a position where you are not immediately visible to drivers and you cannot assume that they are always checking their mirrors and blind-spots as they should. The safest way to minimise the risk of not being seen is to wear reflective clothing (particularly at night) and having the correct lights fitted to your bicycle. A white front light and red rear light are the required standard with pedal reflectors required on all modern bicycles.
It’s Not a Balancing Act
When driving being in complete control of your vehicle is paramount, and the same apply to cyclists. You may be forced at times to take extra weight on your bike. Perhaps you’ve just picked up a few essentials from the shop, but you will still have to plan for this. Extra weight unevenly distributed on the bicycle can throw you off balance or restrict your movement meaning you are in less control of the bike. The ideal solution is to utilise side saddles on your bike and spread the weight evenly.
Be Precautious of Obstacles
If you find yourself at a level crossing or a roundabout for example, then you might be a little uncertain about navigating the obstacle on the bike. Roundabouts are often very busy and precarious for a cyclist, as cars might see you later than they normally would. Similarly, many level crossings utilise signs to tell cyclists to go on foot due to the more risky nature. While you might be a very competent cyclist, it is often advisable or required that you dismount your bicycle and push it past the obstacle, whether that be dismounting at a level crossing or opting for a footpath option to traverse a roundabout.
Learn the Highway Code
Even children as young as 5 are learning about the Highway Code so there is no excuse for ignorance about the standard rules for using your bicycle on British roads. Knowing the standard practices of safe bicycle use on roads is essential so you know how to deal with each situation as it presents itself. If you don’t know the rules of the road, then perhaps you’re not ready to ride them.
Wear a Helmet
It’s simple stuff and legally required, but the number of cyclists who opt to go without bicycle helmets is often astounding. Whether it’s for adult road cyclists or children cycling on neighborhood streets, it is imperative that a helmet is worn. It might just make the difference in the event of an accident.
Algernon Farlee is an avid cyclist. He always ensures that his children’s bikes have all of the proper lights and reflectors and that they have properly fitted bicycle helmets.
Image Credit: 1.