Four things cyclists must be aware of when sharing the roads
Cycling is a great way to stay active – both physically and mentally. Getting out on the open road gives us the chance to unwind, but that doesn’t mean we can totally zone out from the world around us.
Despite still ranking second when it comes to the hierarchy of road users, any cyclist can tell you just how overlooked they can be by motorists. While it’s slightly frustrating, those on a bike need to take extra precautions when travelling to ensure they stay safe.
But what are the biggest risks? Below is a short summary of four of the most challenging things cyclists need to watch for.
T-junctions by their very nature tend to create something of a blind spot for motorists. Unfortunately, the bulk of that problem falls in the laps of cyclists. A staggering 38.1% of all incidents which involve cyclists take place at T or Y-junctions.
The key things for cyclists to be aware of here are:
- Drivers turning into the junction without giving way to you
- Driver turning off the junction who don’t realise a cyclists isn’t doing the same thing
While a lot of the blame lands at the feet of vehicle drivers, cyclists need to do their part to make themselves as visible as possible. This is where hi-vis clothing and clear hand signals are key. Remember that you can get clothing via the Cycle to Work Scheme, saving at least 32%.
It’s no great shock that roundabouts pose a threat to cyclists. Whether it’s a motorist emerging from a side road without giving way, or turning in such a way that they leave insufficient room for someone on a bike, there are a host of risks associated with these British stalwarts of the road.
Just as with T-junctions, this issue is chiefly the fault of a motorist. Make sure to always pre-empt someone in a car or van failing to give you space, or flying out into the turning lane. Having that extra split second of awareness could make all the difference.
Nobody likes potholes, no matter how you choose to get about. But for cyclists, they can be particularly dangerous. As many as 15% of all accidents involving bikes on the road are caused by potholes or other defects with the surface of the road itself.
Potholes tend to occur on the edge of roads, so if you suspect a surface might be worn, try to stick to the centre of the tarmac. If you’re the lead in a group, make sure to point out any potholes you spot to the rest of your party. Having a good quality helmet will help protect your head in the event of a fall. Along with clothing, helmets are also available on the Cycle to Work Scheme.
As you’ve probably noticed, people tend to get impatient when following a cyclist on the road. This can cause them to overtake when it’s not totally safe to do so. Try to take a more central position in the lane to force other road users to cross the centre road markings. Give yourself give yourself enough space to move out of their path, or swiftly come to a safe stop.
Keep these factors in mind when you’re next out on the road. Knowing the dangers goes a long way to preventing them becoming a reality.
Ready for the roads?
If you’re considering getting a new bike, or perhaps you’d like a second bike more suited to colder conditions, then use Green Commute Initiative’s Cycle to Work Scheme to make significant savings. There’s no ownership fees or spend limits with CGI who make the process quick and simple to follow. Get in touch with our friendly team to find out more.
This guest blog was provided by Ross Hansen, Content Producer, and Researcher