Hints & Tips

Safety advice for beginner cyclists

Thinking of taking to two wheels, or want to start riding to work, but not sure where to start? There are lots of things you can do to make your first forays into the world of cycling safer, and more enjoyable as a result.

In our recent competition by Cycle Assist, we asked our readers to share their best advice for beginner cyclists, and we had some brilliant responses.

Looking carefully and signalling clearly were two of the top pieces of advice put forward by our readers

The top piece of advice, which won the competition, came courtesy of Laura Coombs:

Stay visible, and don’t ride in the gutter – you’ve every right to ride on the road as well as cars.

The suggestions our readers have put forward cover all the essentials; from signalling and looking, to road positioning and lights. Have a read, and if you know a beginner cyclists, share this with them and help get more people out on their bikes!

EVERYONE had to start as a beginner.

“Confidence will grow each time you ride. If possible, ride out with a friend or someone who has been riding a while with them behind so they can pre-warn you when traffic is overtaking etc.”

Donna Haynes

Signal your intentions to drivers and occupy your rightful part of the road with confidence.

Beth Nolan

Take a group cycle training course.

“Doing a structured course with others at a similar level to you is a great way of building confidence. Support and encouragement from your fellow cyclists and instructors can help you work through the ups and downs of cycling.”

Ruzina Choudhury

Cycle with a confident friend- they can advise you, show you safe ways of riding and boost your confidence.

Suzy McRitchie

Build up your confidence slowly before you tackle busy roads

Sophie Buckle

Hi-visibility fabrics and reflectives are a great addition to your riding wardrobe

Do a Bikeability or similar course to get confident about road position.

Sue Drake

Join a cycling group or network for support and advice.

“Getting to grips with riding while doing it with others helps you keep on the bike and not the bus!”

Martha Wass

If you’re planning to commute by bike and live in a busy city or town, practice your route on a Sunday morning.

“It will give you chance to familiarise yourself with road layouts, potholes and any natural hazards when the traffic is lighter.”

Claire Arnott

Practice on quiet roads to get comfortable on your bike!

Aga Siemiginowska

Never ride up the left hand side of a lorry or bus!

“You might feel more secure sticking close to the curb but the driver can’t see you, and you’re stuck if it turns left.”

Victoria Woolley

Buy a really good helmet, ensure you have strong, clear lights on the bike and high visibility clothing when riding.

Susan Willshee

Know your hand signals, don’t jump red lights and avoid riding in the gutter.

Natalie Asaro

Always keep the bike & brakes well maintained, a bike service is well recommended.

Jenny Peek

Never cycle or stop along the curb next to lorries at traffic lights or junctions. They can’t see you!

Wendy Lowe

Keep an eye out: look 100 metres ahead of you in addition to just in front of your bike.

“This is especially important in a city where you may have to pull out to avoid a parked car, or bus stop etc. Knowing what’s coming up allows you to stay in control.”

Amanda Woolf

Ride a safe distance from the kerb and from parked cars

Make your intentions clear, signal with plenty of notice and make eye contact with drivers

Gemma Williams

Get the right bag or pannier for commuting – there’s nothing worse than a bag flapping around or getting twisted up to break your concentration and ruin your ride.

Sarah Jane Ballantyne

Make friends with your local bike shop.

“The people at my local shop have been so helpful and friendly, offering advice and organising rides for people of a similar level.”

Liz Blaney

Don’t skimp on your helmet.

“Get a good fitting one, and ask for advice in a cycle store if you are not sure which will be best. Also at this time of year during dusk it’s harder to be seen by others, so wear some good reflective clothes.”

Luisa Lauren

Get to know your bike, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve ridden.

“Familiarise yourself with how the brakes feel and how they work, and make sure you can reach the brake levers comfortably. Practice using the gears. Above all though, HAVE FUN!”

Rachael Long

And finally, one of the most important in our opinion;

Take your time and enjoy it

Sarah Birkett

Cycle Assist are a specialist cycling accident compensation solicitors firm, providing no-win-no-fee support, and free advice, to cyclists who have been involved in a bicycle accident in the last three years.

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