Now that spring is officially here many of us are turning our thoughts to enjoying the sunshine and getting that cycle out from the shadows of the garage!
As always there is a balance to be struck between enjoying the outdoors and staying safe and accident free! Cycling carries with it many benefits – it is good for general health and wellbeing, is great exercise and is fun to do! As the warmer weather continues the increasing number of cyclists on the roads becomes more noticeable. If you take a moment to observe these it is not difficult to pick up on the “Do’s” and “Dont’s” of safe cycling. Here are a few I have noticed:
Keep your cycle in good working order. If possible have it regularly serviced to make sure it is in good condition – remember that your bike is the only thing that separates you from the road!
Wear good quality reflective clothing so you can be seen by other road users
Wear a good quality cycling helmet. Buy the best you can afford – if you come off your cycle at any time you will be glad that you did!
Carry an essential tool and repair kit
If cycling on main roads, keep to the left and cycle in single file
Be aware of other road users particularly at junctions, traffic lights and on country roads
Use a cycle if you have any doubts about it’s condition – unsatisfactory brakes or steering can have serious implications
Assume that other road users can see you. Often motorists are not looking for cyclists – make your presence known with bright reflective clothing
Set off on a journey (however short) unprepared for a change in weather, something going wrong with your cycle or an accident
Cycle on pavements – you will be liable if you injure a pedestrian
The list of what we should and shouldn’t do is endless and it is important not to think of cycling as an activity that is fraught with danger. But roads ARE busy places and in following a few basic rules you can make sure that you enjoy all the benefits of cycling whilst staying safe at the same time.
It is worth remembering that to enjoy cycling you do not HAVE to use main roads. There are a number of websites and publications available where off road routes are highlighted. These could be dedicated cycling paths or just quiet country roads away from the main traffic routes. You sometimes find free leaflets in your local cycle shop giving traffic free routes in your local area. These are worth investigating if cycling on main roads is not for you.
Happy Cycling. x