There is nothing more satisfying than riding past all the motorist trapped in their cars and stuck in traffic as you glide through the streets under your own steam but cycling amongst cars and other road user has its dangers. Here are some simple tips to help you stay safe on the roads.
- Wear a helmet! - this is not just a top tip but is law! Wearing a properly fitted cycling helmet can reduce head injuries by 60 per cent and brain injuries by 58 per cent according to the Roads Safety Authority. Wearing a helmet is not enough - you need to make sure it's been properly fitted and is strapped on correctly too before each ride. If you're unsure speak to someone in your local store.
- Be Seen! - Many cyclists try and hug in close to the kerb and parked cars but this can put you into blind spots and path of opening car doors. Where possible and appropriate ride in the centre of the lane.
- Communicate! Give as much notice to cars and other riders of your movements as you can - this includes using hand gestures (polite ones), signalling and taking time before making manoeuvres. Sudden movements and changes of direction make it harder for motorists to react so give as much warning as possible.
- Be Seen Again! Wear your reflective gear or at least have them with you, your bike light is not always enough for you to be spotted at night - wearing clothing with reflective strips or hi-visibility details will other road users a better chance of seeing you.
- Listen Up! Rethink your use of headphone when cycling around traffic, or during hours of low visibility times at dawn, dusk and during the night.
- Re-route! - people are creatures of habit and many cycle the same route that they would drive. Check to see if there's an alternative, bike friendly route - you might even find a short cut!