By Sam Whalley
Whether you’re already a keen cyclist, or you’re just starting to get into cycling, staying safe is of the utmost importance. It’s estimated 80 pedal cyclists are seriously injured every week on UK roads.
Cycling is a fantastic hobby, benefitting not only your physical but mental health. As well as health benefits, it is emission-free, making it an eco-friendlier option.
Whether you are cycling to commute or for recreational purposes, here are just some of the things you can do to increase your safety on the road.
Safety begins with the equipment you use and wear during your rides. While there is no legal requirement to wear a helmet in the UK, it is strongly advised. Should you be knocked off your bike, a helmet could potentially save your life, and without one, you may be severely injured. Helmets can vary considerably in price, so be sure to read online reviews and look into the safety credentials of a helmet before making a purchase.
As well as a helmet, it is crucial to use and wear safety equipment that makes you visible to others on the road. This should include reflective clothing and bike lights. This is particularly important during the winter months when there is far less daylight, and you are more likely to be cycling in the dark. Without this equipment, it can be very difficult for drivers or even other cyclists to see you which can result in accidents.
As a cyclist using the road, you need to take responsibility for learning and understanding the highway code and acting appropriately based on this. It is worth noting that the highway code can change, so what you learned years ago may not still be what is advised.
For example, cyclists are now advised to position themselves in the middle of a lane in low-traffic areas.
Keeping up with highway code changes is vital for both your safety and the safety of other motorists and cyclists around you.
If you are hit by a car, but did not take proper precautions, it may affect your ability to make a head injury claim.
A common cause of all injuries, not just cycling-related ones, is distractions. Becoming distracted whilst cycling can be incredibly detrimental and may cause danger to both you and others.
For example, if you choose to check a notification on your smartwatch whilst riding, you may unintentionally go through a red light or begin to swerve into another lane.
It is therefore imperative that you remove any potential distractions before you mount your bike. This may include silencing your notifications or removing clothing or jewellery that causes regular irritation.
If you are new to road cycling and you don’t feel confident cycling close to cars, it could be well worth taking part in some cycle awareness training. There are dedicated courses available that provide you with the practical skills and knowledge necessary to ride safely on the roads.
Completing one of these courses is a great way to increase your confidence when it comes to cycling safely.
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