Road Safety Guide for Cyclists

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Road Safety Guide for Cyclists

Are you someone who regularly cycles? Travelling on two wheels introduces unique dangers on the roads, and doing so employs the need to follow additional measures to stay safe.

In this guide, we will go over some essential tips on how to remain safe on the roads, whether you use your bike for commuting or for leisure.

Safety Tips For Cyclists

With the rising prices of fuel and public transport, plus the increased worries about the effect of travel on the climate, many people are switching to cycling as their main form of transport. If this describes you, there are a number of things that you need to do to stay safe on the roads.

Whether you're a beginner at cycling or if you're a seasoned rider, safety is paramount, so following these tips will increase your awareness of the road and how to enjoy cycling safely for years to come.

Brush Up on the Highway Code

One of the most important things a cyclist can do is brush up on the Highway Code before going out on the road. Cycling safely means understanding the laws of the road that apply to you and to the other road users you will encounter. As the Highway Code is undergoing changes in spring 2022, you should know all of the fundamental aspects that concern you and any upcoming changes.

The Highway Code will help you to learn how to cycle safely on the roads to help avoid accidents. If you follow all of the rules in the Highway Code, then you are less likely to be at fault in case of an accident.

Make Others Aware of Your Presence

It’s important to ensure other road users know you’re there at all times. This can be either through sight or sound and can be as simple as making sure you have working lights or a bell on your bike.

Lights are especially important if you plan to commute in the dark or if you’re travelling during the winter months. It is a legal requirement to make sure the front and rear lights of your bike are lit and working properly. They should also always be clean to ensure proper visibility.

It also helps to wear bright, visible clothing such as a high-vis jacket when cycling to make yourself even more visible to other road users.

Avoid Staying Too Close to the Kerb

It can be very tempting for a cyclist to stay close to the kerb to stay out of the way of traffic. However, this actually puts you and other road users in more danger as you're less visible to them.

The safest position that you can cycle in is between 50cm - 1m away from the kerb. This way, drivers are more likely to see you, and you're less likely to run over drain covers and debris.

When you’re turning a corner, you should be even further away from the kerb. This prevents the car behind you from overtaking you, which could cause an accident.

Keep Your Distance

Stopping distances on a bicycle vary widely, and depend on many factors (weather, tyre tread and inflation, brake type, brake condition, and more). With this in mind, it’s very important to keep plenty of distance between you and other vehicles to ensure you have enough time to react if something happens ahead of you.

If you're cycling at around 10mph, your stopping distance is around six metres. This distance doubles for every five miles an hour faster than you travel, and it rises even further if you're travelling in wet conditions.

It’s not just moving cars that you need to worry about. You should also be aware of parked cars as doors may swing open at any moment. You should always try to cycle a door’s width away from any parked cars to avoid this potential problem.

Be Aware of Hazards

Hazard perception is a big part of travelling on the roads. Spotting hazards is just as important when cycling as it is when driving. Some people say it’s even more important since the stopping time on a bike is longer than in a car, and cyclists have much less protection than drivers.

Below is an example of some hazards that you may come across when cycling:

  • Pedestrians stepping out into the road
  • Vehicles swerving to avoid a hazard
  • A loose dog running out into the road
  • Vehicles waiting to pull out into your lane
  • Children playing at the side of the road
  • People opening the door on a parked car

You should always be aware of your surroundings and watch out for any potential dangers to help you anticipate and avoid an accident. Using your best judgement at all times and being aware of your surroundings is the best way to help you stay safe.

Make Eye Contact With Other Road Users

Similar to wearing high-vis clothing, making eye contact with other road users is an effective way of making sure road users are aware of your presence, helping to avoid accidents. Below are some instances where making eye contact can be very useful:

  • When using a zebra crossing
  • When turning off at a junction to ensure other road users are not going to overtake
  • When pulling out of a side street
  • When pulling out of a driveway
  • When you’re next to a car at traffic lights
  • When overtaking slow-moving vehicles
  • When an oncoming car slows down and indicates to turn across your path

Making eye contact can help you read the body language of the other motorist and can help you anticipate what they’re going to do next. This can help to prevent dangerous situations or accidents.

Make Clear Signals

It’s just as important to signal when on a bike as it is when you’re driving a car. Remember, other road users aren’t mind readers, so it’s crucial to make sure you make the appropriate signals to show other road users what you’re doing.

Below is a list of signals that you should be making when cycling on the road:

  • When turning right or left - use one arm and extend it horizontally to point towards the direction in which you’re about to turn.
  • When slowing down - use one arm slightly extended to the side with the palm facing down. Raise your hand up and down at waist height.
  • When stopping - use one arm and extend it vertically upwards with the palm facing forwards.

You should also try to make eye contact with drivers as much as possible when signalling to ensure they’re aware of your intentions.

Making a Cycling Accident Claim

We hope our cycling road safety tips are helpful and help you to avoid getting into an accident. However, in the very unfortunate event that you do end up in an accident that results in an injury, you may be able to make a cycling accident compensation claim.

At JMW Solicitors, we have more than 35 years of expertise working with cyclists and understand that two-wheeled riders are far more vulnerable to injury than other motorists. Our team of experts can help to make sure you get the treatment you need after your accident, and we will ensure your compensation claim is dealt with empathetically. We will also make sure you get the compensation you need to cover all losses as a result of your injury.

If you want to make a cycling accident claim, JMW has experts that can work on your behalf to get the best results. To speak to a solicitor about a cycling injury caused by somebody else’s negligence, contact us now by calling 0345 872 6666, or fill in our online enquiry form, and we will call you back as soon as possible.

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