There’s no debating that cycling is full of benefits. It keeps you fit, is great for the environment, saves you money on fuel or public transport and you can have fun doing it! Unfortunately, there are dangers involved with road cycling that can make heading out on two wheels seem like a very daunting prospect indeed.
It’sbusy urban areas that present the most significant risk to cyclists and are ultimately the biggest offender when it comes to the location of most accidents. Impatient drivers cutting through congested traffic and complex road layouts can make those on two wheels vulnerable. This is particularly true when cycling in unfamiliar countries and cities.
It’s understandable that many would-be cyclists worry about the possibility of getting into an accident as it’s always going to the cyclist who comes off worst. Injured cyclists can be left facing a long stretch off work and expensive medical bills piling up.
Fortunately, there is help available for the victims of accidents. Experienced specialist solicitors such as Your Legal Friend can help them claim compensation for their pain, suffering and financial losses.
However, just like driving, cycling can be perfectly safe if you follow the rules of the road and basic safety advice. These five top tips could give you the confidence to head out onto the open road safely:
Brakes at the ready
It’s not a good idea to delay braking at junctions and roundabouts. Cover your brakes with your hands on approach and start braking in plenty of time. You’ll also be ready if the need to make an emergency stop suddenly arises. This is also a good tip to put into practice if you’re ever unsure whether you have been spotted by another road user.
Treat junctions with caution
You should position your bicycle at least a couple of feet from the side of the road as you arrive at a junction. This will make you visible to drivers and other road users. It will also benefit you by allowing you to see further across the junction. Remember that most vehicles have blind spots, especially larger ones such as buses and lorries. Consider that you may have cropped up in a driver’s blind spot and try to make eye contact where possible. It’s also easier to misjudge the speed of moving vehicles than you may think. Don’t be over-confident when pulling out at junctions and stay patient.
Be wary of parked cars
Wherever possible, you should pass by parked vehicles with a least the width of a car door in between. This means you’ll clear any suddenly opening doors that could result in some unpleasant injuries for you. If it’s safe to do so, you should also cut your speed. This will give you a much better chance of breaking in time if you spot a door swinging open or a car preparing to pull out. Leaving a door’s width will also make you more visible in the wing mirrors of drivers who are about to move away.
The pavement is not the answer
Taking your bike onto pavements and pedestrian paths might be tempting if you’re still a little uneasy about the idea of road cycling. But don’t be fooled by the misconception that this will be safer. Cycling on the pavement is actually likely to throw up more hazards than the roads will. From cars reversing out of drives to playing children and unsecured grids to excitable dogs, there are many obstacles in your path.
Don’t rely on high vis
Although wearing bright clothing and fixing lights and reflectors to your bike is always helpful, some cyclists are guilty of putting too much trust in it. You shouldn’t be over-reliant on your high visibility equipment and should still follow your other safety rules and make sure you have been seen by other road users – especially when it comes to blind spots.