Cycling is a relatively safe activity. It is healthy, does not harm the environment and costs virtually nothing. The health benefits of cycling significantly outweigh the risks however there are hazards for the urban cyclist to be aware of, especially in built up areas.
As a cycle injury lawyer and a long time commuter cyclist I have a good insight into the causes of collisions and how to best avoid them. Here are my top 10 tips for safe urban cycling.
- Watch out for car doors – you can’t always tell if there is someone inside a car, always assume a car door might open in front of you. Pass a car door’s width from the car.
- Watch out for pedestrians – often pedestrians step out without looking, especially if they are distracted by mobile phones or iPods.
- Road surfaces – watch out for potholes, debris and drain covers. Beware of any hazard which might be hidden in a large puddle. Do not ride too close to the gutter.
- Obey the traffic laws – failure to do risks your own safety and other road users. Cyclists who jump traffic lights provide ammunition to the anti-cycling lobby.
- Make eye contact with motorists waiting to pull out onto a main road – be sure that they have seen you. If you are unsure, exercise caution.
- Take particular care when filtering through traffic – it is not illegal for a cyclist to undertake slow moving/stationary traffic but exercise caution. Watch out for vehicles which might be turning in or out of side roads.
- Plan your route – where possible use cycle paths and quieter roads. Use Cycle UK`s excellent journey planner which will provide a safer and more pleasure route for your cycle journey. http://www.cyclinguk.org/journey-planner
- Beware of large vehicles especially at junctions – this is the biggest cause of urban cyclist fatalities. Do not pass a large vehicle at a junction unless you are confident that you can get comfortably ahead before the traffic starts to move. Assess the situation very carefully.
- Be seen – Legally you must ride with front and rear lights at night. In poor light it is advisable to also use lights in the day. Invest in good lights. Ensure they are fully charged. High visibility jackets can also make a cyclist more conspicuous.
- Maintain your bike – ensure that it is safe to ride, and in particular that the brakes are functioning effectively. Disc brakes are particularly effective for urban cycling. Most bikes can be upgraded to disc brakes which reduce braking distance.
While cycling is incredibly practical, fun and great for your health, it is important to be alert and not take any unnecessary risks. These tips can go a long way in ensuring urban cyclists stay safe on busy roads in urban areas.
Get in touch for more information about your eligibility to claim after a cycling accident.
Happy and safe cycling!
Paul specialises in cycling related claims. He offers a free no obligation initial consultation to help you determine whether or not you have a claim. For more information, please get in touch via our contact page.