Riding Safely : Tips for Avoiding Accidents on the Road
As the world moves towards a more sustainable future, the popularity of cycling continues to soar. Not only is cycling a healthy and cost-effective mode of transportation, but it also contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and easing traffic congestion. However, with the increasing number of cyclists on the road, it is essential to prioritise safety to avoid accidents.
Here, the cycling safety advocates at Graham Coffey & Co. Solicitors provide tips on cycling safely from a sustainability standpoint, ensuring that you can play your part in protecting the environment while staying safe on the road.
The Importance of Cycling Safety
There are numerous measures any cyclist can take to reduce the risk of an accident, and every step can be considered with sustainability in mind. Below are the most crucial steps to keep in mind when considering cycling safety.
Wear Proper Protective Gear
The first step to cycling safely is, of course, wearing proper protective gear. A well-fitted helmet is essential for protecting your head in case of an accident. Additionally, you should wear clothing that is visible to other drivers, especially in low-light conditions. Reflective vests, jackets, and bands can help increase your visibility. These can be bought on the Cycle to Work Scheme, saving you at least 32%.
Despite wearing the most extensive safety gear, every cyclist is at risk of injury, as cyclists represent the most vulnerable of road users. This vulnerability does not excuse or pardon any cause of injury that was not the cyclist’s fault; should a cyclist be involved in an accident that was not their fault – be it from a pothole or another dangerous driver – they should seek expert legal advice in cycling safety to make a cycling accident claim.
When it comes to protective gear, sustainability is often an afterthought – but it always plays a part. Protective gear made from sustainable materials, such as recycled or plant-based fabrics, can contribute to minimising your environmental impact. Look for products with certifications, such as bluesign® or OEKO-TEX®, that ensure the item’s manufacturing process meets environmental and safety standards
Perform a Pre-Ride Check
Before hitting the road, it is important to perform a pre-ride check to ensure your bike is in good condition. Check the brakes, gears, and tyres to make sure they are functioning properly. Ensure that the seat is at the right height, and that the handlebars are securely fastened. If you notice any issues, have them fixed by a professional before cycling.
A well-maintained bicycle is less likely to cause accidents or break down unexpectedly. Regular maintenance, including checking tire pressure, brakes, and gear systems, ensures that your bike is functioning efficiently and safely. Furthermore, by prolonging the life of your bike, you can reduce waste and contribute to sustainability.
Cycling defensively means being aware of your surroundings and anticipating potential hazards. Always be mindful of other vehicles on the road and stay alert for obstacles, such as potholes, debris, and pedestrians. Always use hand signals to communicate your intentions to other drivers, and never assume that drivers can see you. Consider distributing the Close Pass Initiative poster at your place of work to help educate other road users about safe passing.
Know the Rules of the Road
As a cyclist, you are considered a vehicle on the road, and you are subject to the same rules as cars and trucks. Always ride in the same direction as traffic and obey all traffic signals and signs. Use bike lanes, if possible. Remember that cyclists are responsible for their own safety on the road.
Being predictable on the road is crucial for avoiding accidents. Ride in a straight line and avoid sudden movements, such as swerving or turning without signalling. Use hand signals when turning, and make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you. Additionally, avoid weaving in and out of traffic, and give yourself plenty of space between other vehicles.
Make sure you are visible to other drivers on the road. Wear brightly coloured clothing and use lights, especially when riding at night or in low-light conditions. Consider adding reflective tape or stickers to your bike or helmet to increase visibility. Additionally, avoid riding in blind spots and always stay aware of other drivers’ actions.
Distractions can be just as dangerous for cyclists as they are for drivers. Avoid using your phone, listening to music, or eating while cycling. Keep your focus on the road at all times, and take breaks by safely pulling over in a designated stopping point if you feel fatigued.
Invest in Safety Technology
Investing in safety technology can help prevent accidents and keep you safe on the road. Consider adding mirrors, bells, and horns to your bike to increase your visibility and ability to communicate with other drivers. Additionally, bike lights, reflective gear, and helmets with built-in lights can help with this. You can save at least 32% on some safety accessories and reflective clothing with Green Commute Initiative’s Cycle to Work Scheme.
Before setting out on your cycling journey, plan your route to avoid busy streets and intersections where accidents are more likely to occur. Consider using cycling-specific apps or websites to find safe, low-traffic routes, and you may also discover scenic paths that can make your ride more enjoyable.
Take a Cycling Safety Course
Taking a cycling safety course can be invaluable for riders of all experience levels. These courses teach essential skills such as manoeuvring and hazard avoidance, as well as provide tips for safe cycling. Many courses also offer on-road instruction with experienced riders to help you gain confidence and improve your skills.
Advocate for Better Cycling Infrastructure
As a cyclist, you can play a part in promoting sustainable and safe cycling by advocating for better cycling infrastructure in your community. This includes dedicated bike lanes, separated bike paths, and cyclist-friendly traffic signals. Improved cycling infrastructure not only makes the roads safer for cyclists but also encourages more people to choose cycling as a sustainable mode of transportation.
Riding safely and sustainably has never been more vital
Cycling is a fun and healthy way to travel – when safety is prioritised. By following these tips and using common sense, you can help prevent accidents and enjoy your ride with confidence. Remember, being a safe cyclist is not just about protecting yourself, but also about protecting others on the road, and every cyclist’s actions contribute to the overall safety and sustainability of our roads.
By following the tips outlined above, you can contribute to a greener future while ensuring your well-being and that of your fellow cyclists.
This guest blog was provided by Stuart Snape, Managing Partner at Graham Coffey & Co. Solicitors
- 12th May 2023