It’s not secret that the roads we use are incredibly dangerous. This danger increases significantly when you sit yourself on a bike. You don’t have protection from impacts, and you don’t have the power to escape accidents. Especially inner city, cyclists have to deal with near-misses on a regular basis. Thankfully, accidents are lessening as drivers become more aware.
But, a lot of the blame can be put on cyclists themselves. The way that you handle yourself on the road plays a big part in safety. And, the way that you treat your bike will determine how safe it is to ride. There are many aspects to safe cycling, and this post is going to go through some of them.
- Safety Gear
Of course, the easiest way to boost your safety is to chuck on some safety gear. It may not look particularly stylish. But, what is style worth when you’re in hospital? And, to be honest, the Tour De France look is getting pretty popular in some places. You should never cycle without a helmet. Your head is on of the most sensitive parts of the body, and it’s also incredibly vulnerable. A helmet can make a serious crash into a minor scare. You should also consider the lighting on your bike. Both lights are there to help other road users see you, not just help you to see. In most places, you’re only allowed a solid red light at the back, and a solid white light at the front. It’s not very sensible to have flashing lights, anyway. They distract drivers and make the road more dangerous. Always test your lights before leaving, when you’re going to be cycling in the dark.
- Proficiency Courses
Driving lessons aren’t just to teach a driver to use a car. They’re also there to teach them how to use the roads. Much like a driver, a cyclist should know the rules of the roads that they’re using. The easiest way to get these skills is through a short cycling proficiency course. These courses will teach you how to use junctions and how to navigate other obstacles, as well. Without this knowledge, it’s irresponsible to cycle on the roads.
- Road Manner
Unlike in a car, you don’t have a choice about how you act on a bike. Your cycling should always be defensive, and not aggressive. You’re far too small to even try and bully other road users, and all that bullying does is cause danger, anyway. So, instead, you should always be prepared get out of the way. You should always avoid anger if there’s conflict; simply leaving the scene if people become aggressive. Drivers often don’t like cyclists, so it’s good to show them that you’re a responsible road user. Never break the rules of the road and always conduct yourself as you would expect other road users to.
- Be Aware
Safety can be greatly increased with some simple awareness. Always be aware of the risks around you. Other vehicles will always present dangers to you. So, it’s worth keeping an eye on them when they get close. Be aware of cars pulling out in front of you, as well. Some people still don’t look for bikes on the road, which is a major cause of accidents. Being aware of the threats around you will make you into a much better cyclist. After some time, you won’t have to do this consciously, anymore. It will become a useful habit that will save you from jams over and over.
- Protecting Your Bike
If you do have an accident, hopefully, you’re alright. In a lot of cases, accidents result in bikes being damaged more than people. So, your bike probably won’t be very happy after a bump. Of course, for a lot of people, a bike is their main form of transport. Living without it simply doesn’t work. So, you need some sort of cover. Thankfully, there are insurance companies that can help you with cycle accident claims. Instead of having to pay out of your pocket, the repairs will be covered. Which, in a lot of cases, will get you back on the road much faster. You can also protect your bike from theft, with insurance. But, it’s still wise to invest in a good lock and modern tracker. These items are inexpensive and can save your bike from disappearing.
Hopefully, this will inspire you to become a better cyclist. Your time on the road doesn’t have to be filled with stress and grief. Instead, you can forge your own experience with safety and confidence.