Cycling On Roads: Top Safety Tips For New Cyclists
Cycling is a great way to commute, get some exercise and explore the world. Cycling can also come with its own set of dangers and safety concerns, so it is vital to ensure that you are prepared should anything go wrong.
Here are a few of the essential safety tips that any cyclist should know when venturing onto roads.
Take Care Around Other Road Users
One of the leading causes of accidents among cyclists is interactions with other road users or pedestrians. You can help offset these risks by remaining alert, keeping a close watch on your surroundings, and clearly signaling your intentions to those around you.
It is a good rule of thumb to cycle with the assumption that all other road users will be driving carelessly. While this is likely not the case, you should assume this to keep you alert to any potential dangers.
You should always ensure that you are dressed appropriately for cycling. This includes wearing a helmet, and protective clothing, to ensure that you are as safe as possible. It should also include items that keep you visible, such as reflective jackets and shoes.
It is also important to take note of the weather and dress accordingly. In colder weather, you should ensure that you have insulated layers and suitable, warm gloves to protect your hands. On warm, sunny days you should consider wearing lightweight breathable materials that protect you from sunburn while keeping you cool.
Understand Your Duty Of Care
Before setting off on your bike, you should ensure that you know what your duty of care is for yourself and other road users. Knowing this will help you to ensure that you ride safely and with proper care and attention. If you’d like to learn more about your duty of care when cycling pedestrian accidents, look at this article from Velosurance.
If an accident occurs with a pedestrian, then you should always stop and ensure that the other party is safe and well, regardless of who is at fault for the incident. Where necessary, it should be reported to the relevant authorities and medical treatment sought.
Leave The Headphones At Home
It can be tempting to listen to music or podcasts on your morning commute by bike, but wearing headphones can reduce your awareness of your surroundings, which can be dangerous for road cycling.
It is crucial that you remain alert and able to hear the sounds of cars, buses, pedestrians, and other potential hazards. If you absolutely must have something to listen to on your ride, then you could consider a speaker that you can mount to the frame of your bicycle. You should ensure that this isn’t too loud, both for your own safety and for the comfort of those around you.
Keep Your Bike Well Maintained
Maintenance is crucial to ensure that you stay safe on your bike. As your bike’s mechanisms are mostly open to the elements, it is vital that you clean your bike after use. For most road cycling this will be relatively easy, but if you and your bike get muddy or dusty on a ride, you should consider a more comprehensive clean.
Mud and damp can erode your bike, causing rust to form. This will ultimately damage your bike and potentially make it unsafe to ride. Where possible, you should always ensure that your bike is clean and dry after using it.
You should also ensure that your bike is well oiled and lubricated, to keep it functioning at its best for years to come.
Many serious cyclists use a range of gadgets to improve their cycling experience. For example, bike computers help with navigation and reporting riding data from training tools like power meters. Your bike computer and power meter are just as exposed as other bike parts when you ride and will also need maintenance. Make sure they’re always charged and cleaned to keep them in good condition.
Invest In Good Quality Lights For Your Bike
If you are cycling at night, then lights for your bike are crucial. Even if you won’t be riding at night, having lights can play an important part in keeping you visible to other road users in low lighting or overcast days.
It would help if you had lights on the front and back of your bike, for maximum visibility. This will allow you to see where you’re going and ensure that other people see you. You could also consider a light that flashes which will ensure that you will be noticed in an accident or emergency.
Ride With A Repair Kit
If you encounter a problem on the move, then having a small kit able to repair minor damage like punctures will be invaluable. This should include a multitool for screws and nuts, a patching kit for punctures, and inner tubes. You could consider buying a repair kit from a reputable bicycle specialist shop or creating your own.
You can find plenty of online tutorials that will help you to understand what you need to do in case of various cycling mishaps. You could also consider taking a course in bike maintenance so that you can learn how to fix your bike yourself.