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When it comes to cycling, there are always plenty of things to consider in terms of safety, arguably even more so during harsh winter conditions. To make sure your trips out on the bike are trouble free, we’ve put together a safety checklist that can prevent you from joining the dangerous statistics that were highlighted above.
What to wear
The first thing that any cyclist should equip themselves with is a well-fitting helmet that conforms to current regulations. Although for kids and even some adults it may not seem the height of fashion, it is an essential for staying safe on your bike. Looking good might have to take a back seat after hospital data from 2013 shows that over 40% of cyclists suffer head injuries when they fall off their bike.
Another key item to wear while you’re out cycling is something bright that will help to make sure you’re visible to other road users. Hi vis clothing is not yet mandatory, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t wear it. Staying visible is one of the easiest ways to keep out of danger and that is why it is a legal requirement to have a white front light and a red rear light after sunset and before sunrise.
Research your route
The majority of people will forget to do this but seasoned riders know that researching your route can prove to be very important if anything goes wrong while you’re out riding. We would recommend that cyclists plan their routes to include quiet roads with low speed limits to reduce the chance of near misses with speeding cars, as we all know the fewer of these the better. Researching your route can pay great dividends when commuting to work, because let’s be honest everyone is in a rush on a Monday morning so the more knowledge you have about your commute the better. With more preparation, you should have more time to grab a coffee before work!
Check the weather
Although there is nothing we can do to stop mother nature doing her worst, we can make sure that we’re prepared to deal with whatever she throws at us. Depending on the weather you will have to be smart about your route selection. It will be calm and relaxing travelling along a cycle path when the sun is shining but during winter when sheets of ice cover these paths it can become perilous. If you are brave enough to tackle the snow and ice then it is highly recommended that you stay on well-lit and gritted routes.
Check your bike
Checking your bike before you set off could be the difference in you having the commute from hell or a gentle ride to work. Here’s what to look for when making sure your bike is ready for the road:
• Check that your front and back lights are both working and that you have side reflectors fitted (take a look at our bike parts if something seems broken).
• Check that your seat is at the correct height and make sure that the seat bolts are tight to avoid the seat adjusting on its own.
• Check that both brakes are working. You can do this by simply rolling the bike forwards and separately checking the front and rear brake.
• Make sure that your tyres are pumped up by giving them a good squeeze. If you’re not satisfied with how they feel then pump them to the suggested PSI which can be found on the tyre.
Know the rules
When it comes to cycling, there are several laws to stick to which will ensure you stay out of trouble with the authorities. We have listed a handful of rules below, but for the full list visit the government website here.
• When using segregated cycle tracks you have to keep to the side that is designated for cyclists.
• When using a cycle lane keep within the lane which is marked with a white line along the carriageway.
• You must not cycle along a pavement.
• Cyclists have to obey all traffic light signs and signals.
• You must not carry a passenger unless your bike is built to carry one.
Finally, road signs are something else that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here are a few that that will be handy to know when off on your bike ride.
Route to be used by cycles only
Segregated cycle and pedestrian route
Route to be used by cycles only
Warning cycling route ahead