How to Improve Your Safety as a Cyclist

Posted November 26, 2022 by in Health + Fitness

There are many reasons that people choose to start cycling. Whether you’ve chosen to do so for practical reasons or for your health, cycling can be a rewarding and fun activity and one that is much more affordable than using a car for shorter journeys. However, safety is one thing that many cyclists don’t take into account properly. We often see cyclists speeding down the roads, going up and down pavements, undertaking cars, and generally riding recklessly. This not only poses a risk to themselves but to others around them, too. While you may not be a reckless cyclist, it’s important to find ways to improve your safety as much as possible to reduce your risk as well as the risk you may pose to other road users or pedestrians. Here are some ways in which you can reduce those risks.

Woman with curly hair standing next to bike near a large body of water

Know The Rules Of The Road

The chances are that, as a cyclist, you are clued up on the rules of the road. However, because there are no legal tests that people have to complete to be able to cycle on the roads, plenty of people simply know how to ride a bike but don’t really understand how to do so safely on the road. While a lot of it is going to be common sense, knowing things like which side of the road to cycle on, how to signal to drivers and pedestrians, and what different road signs or lights mean can be very helpful in ensuring that you are as safe as possible on the road. You can learn this by undertaking cycle training. Of course, you aren’t required by law to do this, but it can help you stay safer. Otherwise, you can learn about cycle safety online with the many tutorials and guides available.

Only Ride Where You’re Supposed To

As part of learning the rules of the road, you’ll learn about the areas you’re supposed to cycle and the places you aren’t supposed to. While there are certain differences depending on where you are, you’ll generally have to stick to the road and cycle paths. You can’t legally cycle on the pavement, as it is actually an offence. Of course, the police are instructed to use discretion with this as sometimes it’s unavoidable using the pavement at times, such as getting around parked cars or blocked roads. This is because cyclists are responsible for being conscious of pedestrians, and riding on the pavement can cause accidents.

Wear The Correct Equipment

As a cyclist, you are at risk of injury much more than other road users. For example, experiencing a collision with a car is likely to hurt you much more than it is to hurt the driver of the vehicle. As well as this, you could make a mistake or hit uneven terrain and fall from your bike. Because of this, it’s important to make sure to wear the correct safety gear to reduce the risk of severe injury in an event like this. Make sure to wear a helmet, at least, as this will help to protect your head from injury should you fall. Of course, if you were to sustain a head injury after being run off the road by a driver, regardless of if you were wearing a helmet, you may be able to claim for a head injury with the help of a legal team like those at Quittance Legal Services. They can give you the support you need and talk you through the next steps.

Properly Maintain Your Bike

The quality of your bike will also play a part in keeping you safe on the road. Making sure your bike stays in good condition is important, as a poorly maintained bike could easily fall apart while you’re cycling. This can be extremely dangerous depending on where you are, as a fault could easily send you out into traffic or off the road and cause a collision. Spend time regularly checking your bike for any weaknesses, damage, or things like rust that may cause the parts of your bike to degrade faster. You can then look into repairing the bike or removing rust to keep it going for longer. Don’t forget to check your brakes, too, and to oil any parts that may require it, such as the chain, pedals, and the brakes themselves.

Be Conscious Of Your Environment

When out and about on your bike, it’s important to be aware of one other major aspect. That is the environment around you. While you may assume that riding on the road is going to be safe terrain, plenty of variables can affect the surface and cause problems with handling your bike. Ice, for example, can eradicate your bike’s grip, causing you to lose control. Similarly, gravel, sand, and other loose materials can have the same effect on you and your bike, so it’s important to watch where you’re going and keep an eye on the road surface, too. It is possible to ride a road bike on rough terrain, but it requires a bit more skill and control, as well as patience. You should also stay aware of any potential hazards, such as children playing in the street, people potentially getting out of parked cars, and anything else that could turn into a problem in a matter of seconds.