By Laura Dosil
Cycling is a great exercise and an enjoyable way to explore the outdoors. It can help to improve both your fitness levels and your mental wellbeing. However, for beginner cyclists, it’s especially important to prioritise safety practices. Regardless of where you’re headed, ensure you are following our top tips to stay safe whilst cycling on the road.
Practice defensive cycling
Cyclists can often appear as vulnerable road users and can suffer personal injuries even in low-speed accidents. You’re not as protected as the driver of a car and you may not be seen by other vehicles.
Defensive cycling helps to protect our safety amongst other road users. If you’re cycling on a busy road, be sure to look and signal to indicate where you’re going. You’ll soon gain the confidence to look over your shoulder, which can help better position you on the road.
Anticipate the unexpected and be wary of riding on the inside of large vehicles. Steer clear of car doors and plan your route to help you avoid dangerous roads and junctions.
Wear the appropriate safety gear
Don’t underestimate the importance of a helmet and reflective safety gear. Helmets are designed to protect you from serious head or neck injuries, should you be involved in an accident. They can also prevent the likelihood of brain, facial and even fatal injuries.
If you’re cycling in the early mornings or after dark, wear the appropriate clothing so you are visible to other road users. You can purchase reflective gear such as vests, armbands and headlamps, as well as reflective tape to add to your bike.
Know the traffic laws
Familiarise yourself with The Highway Code for cyclists. This features rules and regulations that you should be following when you take to the road on two wheels.
You can find information on how to cycle through road junctions, roundabouts and crossing the road. Plus, you can learn which parts of the road you can share with other road users, and which areas are restricted to cyclists.
Be hyper-aware of your surroundings
When cycling on busy roads, you must remain focused and aware. Try not to get distracted by your music or daydreaming thoughts.
Stay alert so you can easily prepare for any potential hazards or problems you may face whilst cycling.
Avoid extreme weather conditions
You may be desperate to get out on your bike no matter the weather conditions, but it’s important to consider your health first before getting out on your bike.
Hot weather can lead to heat stroke, muscle cramps and dehydration if not careful. Or, if temperatures have plummeted, there may be ice on the road, which could cause you to slip and fall.
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