The vast majority of road users are considerate and respectful, but not all. Drivers and cyclists occasionally get into disputes on the road, particularly when a driver does something which endangers a cyclist or vice versa. This article provides 7 tips on how to stay safe as a cyclist on the road.
1. Make Yourself Seen
It is important that motorists can spot cyclists when they are on or near the road, so if you need to wear bright clothing this is advisable. Whilst there are reflective jackets available for both bike riders and pedestrians, it’s worth noting that visibility is an issue right across the year (not just during winter). It may be best to equip yourself with a high-quality bicycle light set that operates day and night.
This is especially true if you prefer cycling when it’s dark outside. Riding your bicycle along public roads is one thing; doing so early in the morning or after dusk is another challenge altogether.
As such, it’s important to remain well versed in road safety and good practice when out cycling at night time – even in areas which you might consider to be safe. Remain with your lights on, make sure they are in good working order and be mindful of the fact that motorists cannot see you when approaching from behind.
2. Ride With Traffic
Riding against traffic puts cyclists at serious risk, especially where heavy vehicles travel along multi-lane roads or highways close together side by side in the same direction.
Riding with traffic means that motorists can see you easily and this will help to avoid dangerous situations arising out of the blue (this is often referred to as ‘left-hook’ accidents).
Even if you’re clearly visible to drivers, ensure that they actually acknowledge you. You may wonder why wearing a bell is relevant when it comes to cycling safety; this is because bells can provide an audible warning when cyclists are riding along busy roads where traffic moves quickly.
For example, you could ring your bicycle bell before moving out into an intersection or pass another road user traveling in the opposite direction on a two-lane highway or mountain road for example.
This also enables cyclists to signal their presence in advance so that drivers have more time to react accordingly – always attempt eye contact with any drivers who are nearby before doing so.
3. Obey The Road Rules
Cyclists are required to follow the same road rules as all other vehicles; failure to do so puts yourself at risk, not just from drivers but also from police who may fine you for breaking the law whilst riding your bike on public roads.
It’s advisable, however, not to take this too far by wearing a helmet cam or otherwise attempting to track down a driver in a bid to seek retribution after an accident has occurred. This will only serve to jeopardize any insurance claim and can leave you open to civil liability.
It’s important to be mindful of traffic signals (whether static or temporary) – failure to do so may result in a hefty fine, especially if you are riding through a red light that displays the image of a bicycle.
If there is no image accompanying the signal then it’s legal for cyclists to proceed; however, be mindful that some intersections (especially roundabouts) may not permit road users crossing on their right (cyclists).
4. Watch Out For Opening Doors
It’s important to note that under certain rules, cyclists are not allowed to ride alongside parked cars or within close proximity of a parked car for safety reasons. This is because drivers may open their car doors without looking, which can result in serious injuries if you’re riding alongside them at the time.
This problem often rears its head when cyclists travel along busy streets where vehicle traffic is heavy; it also happens quite regularly on roads with high volume parking (for example, outside city buildings and railway stations).
As such, always remain one step ahead by remaining well clear of any doors which may be opened unexpectedly. Drivers – make sure you check your side mirrors before opening your door.
5. Remain Alert At All Times
It’s important to remain alert at all times when cycling on busy roads or in areas where traffic is heavy. Always ensure that you are visible to other motorists – do this by wearing brightly-colored clothing with reflective strips, especially during the nighttime. Also, always carry a mobile phone with you just in case you require assistance from the police if needed.
6. Get a high-quality bike
When it comes to road safety, a high-quality bike can make a world of difference. Luckily, you can get the best bikes for sale almost anywhere today. Having a good bike is important for a few reasons.
If your brakes aren’t working properly, for example, this is obviously going to put you at risk when cycling along busy roads with lots of traffic moving past you. Also, you need to be confident that your tires are decent and won’t go flat when traveling along bumpy surfaces such as tram tracks for example.
7. Ride Defensively
As with any form of transport on public roads, motorcycle or otherwise, cyclists should always maintain an element of caution when traveling along busy thoroughfares and highways.
Riders should avoid positioning themselves in ‘no-man’s land’ where they are not readily visible to motorists, especially at intersections, roundabouts, and driveways. This will help to avoid trouble which could occur as a result of drivers failing to see you coming.
Of course, it’s also important to be courteous towards other road users at all times by giving way when it is safe to do so; the same rules apply when it comes to cyclists too of course.
If you’re riding along a busy multi-lane street then give way to vehicles traveling in the opposite direction, just like they would on two separate lanes (of course, provided they are not traveling at high speeds).
Cycling on public roads is a fantastic way to stay active and enjoy time outside with friends and family. However, it’s critical that all riders are mindful of the fact they share the road with other motorists who may not always be very accommodating or aware of cyclists’ presence.
By following these 7 tips on staying safe as a cyclist you can minimize the risk of an accident occurring without impacting too much on your daily commute. This will help keep you safe and legal when riding your bike on public roads, which in turn means that everyone benefits from a happy and healthy community!
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