One of the best and most accessible ways to get fit is cycling. It’s a sport, a pastime and a way of getting into work all rolled into one. But many people are put off because of safety concerns.
Statistically, cycling is still very much a safe activity, but the figures do give you pause for thought. In 2016, there were 123 cyclist fatalities on British roads. The death toll for motorists in 2015 was 1,732, in comparison.
So, with over 2 cyclists dying every week on UK roads there is good reason to follow some basic safety tips:
Plan your journey
Studies show that a large number of accidents involving cyclists occur near the end of a ride, perhaps when the rider is tired and has become less alert. If you are planning to ride for a long distance it makes sense to carefully plan your route in advance and to make sure you don’t overstretch yourself distance wise.
As with driving a car, anticipating what other road users might do and what potential hazards lie ahead is really important. Keeping a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of you is sensible. Being aware at all times of what is going on around you is vital. You are more vulnerable and more exposed on two wheels. Pay particular attention to motorists who are indicating to turn or those that are pulling out at T-junctions.
Ride in the primary position
Wherever possible, you should ride in the centre of the lane. This is known as the primary position. This gives you the best line of vision possible, so your road positioning is important.
Make sure you can be seen
Being visible to other road users is important. In daylight, it is always best to wear light-coloured and ideally fluorescent clothing. In poor light conditions, reflective clothing should be worn. It is also a good idea to ensure that your bike is kitted out with reflective accessories.
Filtering can be a good way for cyclists to keep moving in queuing traffic. However, it can be very dangerous especially with oncoming traffic turning right. Such traffic may well be out of your line of sight and they not be aware that you are there either. Any long vehicle: buses, coaches or lorries are particular hazards, so you should always take particular care with these types of vehicles if you are trying to pass on the inside.
As with all road users, it is important for cyclists to be clear about The Highway Code. There is plenty of more detailed advice available for cyclists too. An example of this is the Think! Campaign. The website is packed with useful info, videos and handy tips to keep you safe on the road.