Cycling combines a great workout with efficient, cheap and green transport. And if you live in the city, it might just be quicker than anything else. But going head to head with other road users, bad weather and poor road conditions can sometimes make cycling a little risky.
Stack the odds in your favor by following these simple safety tips and check out this beginners guide to cycling.
Always wear a helmet. Even a minor fall can result in serious injury if you are unlucky enough to hit your head. Cyclists often say “bones heal but brains don’t”and if Tour de France cyclists wear helmets, why wouldn’t you? While helmets can be expensive, they last a long time and could very well save your life. So obviously a worthwhile investment. Cycle helmets are light, well-ventilated and comfortable so there really is no excuse for not wearing something that is essentially a life-saving piece of cycling gear. Hopefully you’ll never find out how useful they are, but if something should happen you sure will be glad you wore it all those times you thought it was unnecessary .
Check your bike. Make sure your bike is in good working order before you start out. Get in the habit of doing a full bike check before heading off. It won’t just make your ride safer, it’ll also save you the hassle of trying to fix your bike en-route to your destination.
Be seen! Do everything you can to make sure you are as visible as possible. Fit your bike with lights and reflectors, and wear brightly colored or reflective clothes. At night stick to roads that are well lit, saving your off-the-beaten-track exploring for the daylight hours.
Follow the rules of the road. Don’t flaunt the rules of the road by jumping traffic lights, cruising through stop signs, riding on the pavement and generally riding dangerously all in an effort to avoid having to stop. Cycling stupidly will massively increase the risk of accident.
Ride defensively. Give other road users as much space as possible and ride defensively. Riding defensively means that you always assume the worst and take action to avoid accidents before they happen. For example, when riding down a street lined with parked cars, assume that someone will open their door or step out from between the cars. Ride away from the parked cars so that if either of these things do happen, you won’t be affected.
Ride according to the weather. High winds can blow you off course and into the path of oncoming traffic and rain can make your brakes ineffective, reduce visibility and make the road slippery. Make allowances for the weather and adjust your speed and riding style accordingly. If the weather is really bad, skip cycling altogether and go for a drier, safe mode of transport instead.