It can be nerve-racking taking your bike out on the road if you aren't experienced at it. A lack of confidence and hesitation can make for a hugely hair-raising ride, but there are things that you can do that will not only keep you safe but will give you a more confident cycling commute/journey. Here are some vital cycling safety tips to help the beginner cyclist learn some of the essential ways to get on with everything you share the road with, or to help the veteran brush the cobwebs off their knowledge.
Refresh your Knowledge of the Code
Just like drivers, the cyclist has a responsibility to learn the Highway Code and all of the appropriate actions you need to take when on the road. If you’re on the same wavelength as the cars, it can dramatically improve your relationship with them, so no running red lights or cycling on the wrong side of the road!
It’s generally either illegal or unsafe to ride on a pavement or on the road towards oncoming traffic, and while you might not get caught doing it, you’re pretty likely to crash into something. There’s nothing more pedestrians hate than having to dodge cyclists thundering down the pavement, and there’s nothing cars hate worse than having to swerve round cyclists heading towards them, so it’s in everyone’s best interests to stick to the status quo here.
Look into my Eyes
Making personal eye contact with drivers isn't creepy and meaningless, it actually helps to establish a connection between you and the car: you’re no longer just a cyclist but you’re actually a person, and this makes the driver much more likely to give you enough space. A car is much bigger than a cyclist, so it’s a good thing to make sure the driver knows that too.
Take the Straight and Narrow Path
Just as it’s annoying when the car in front of you wobbles all over the road, as is the same in cycling: cars are much more jittery around cyclists when said cyclist can’t make up their mind about which piece of road they like. If you ride predictably and consistently it gives you and the cars around you more confidence. The straightest path is also the shortest path, and even though it won’t save you much energy, it’s a little extra benefit of staying safe.
Primary Position = Calm Cycling
Any road cyclist worth their salt will know the ‘primary position’ and why it’s so commonly used. Primary position will depend on the route - but it’s basically always the right place to cycle on the road, and involves cycling around 2 feet in from the pavement. Cars will recognise it as well as the place you should be so it’s the safest way to cycle.
The Road is your Cat-walk
Even if you don’t have any fashion sense off your bike, this can all be forgotten once you pull on that funky hi-vis vest and fluorescent orange cycling shoes. Obviously, there is an aim to all 80s-like get-up, as it makes you much more visible to whatever else is on the road, especially at night. The cycling market is pretty big right now, so there’s plenty of ways to look stylish while you stay safe.
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