TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE ON THE ROAD

/ By Jacqui Ma

Goodordering has its feet firmly in the camp of urban cycling. Many people get a bit scared of cycling in big cities, but in this post, we want to give you some of our tips for how to stay safe and keep on cycling in the city. We really believe that the more people who cycle, the safer it is for everyone. So here are our top 7 tips.

Wear high visibility clothes

Whether it be a high vis vest or a bright floral t-shirt, the more you get noticed on the street the safer you are. Staying visible at night is especially important so reflective patches on your bag or clothing will make you stand out in a sea of black. Our friends at Ride with Wolves make great urban reflective gear that is as cool as it is hi-vis. It will keep you safe on the road and also not necessarily stand out as cycling gear at the pub.

Ride with Wolves high vis clothing - safety tips for cyclists
Unplug your headphones

Don’t listen to music or podcasts, just be in the moment. As fun as it is, any kind of distractions takes away your focus from the environment around you. Here is an article on bicycle.com that explores the headphone debate further. One of the other arguements is that it also limits your awarness of the proper functioning of your bicycle.

Headphones on a bicycle rider
Make eye contact

A wink and a smile goes a long way on a bicycle. Even though drivers are behind the windscreen, its the human connection that will make a big difference to actions that people take on the road. This is why it is so important that you are not distracted when cycling. Soaking up the environment and being part of the community is key.

cycle style Goodordering tips for safe cycling
Wear appropriate clothing

This doesn’t mean you need to wear lycra, but its definitely safer to have clothes that are comfortable but don’t have too many floaty bits that might get caught in the pedals or gears. Being comfortable means that you are relaxed and you are more likely to be focussed with quicker reactions if you are not stressed by being too hot, too cold, with a bag thats too heavy or swinging from side to side etc. We definitely recommend getting yourself a bicycle pannier bag, especially when cycling in hot climates.

Have a bell and use it

Having a bell that you use regularly is a great way to stay safe on your bicycle. Like any habit being formed, using a bell should become an automatic reaction so you can be ready to make warning signals when on your bike. Whether it be a pedestrian stepping out from the footpath distracted by their phone or warning on-coming traffic in a tunnel, its an important way to make yourself heard and safe.

bicycle bell - tips fo safety when cycling
Ride slow

Don’t be in a rush to get to your destination, for a safe ride, leave a bit earlier and give yourself enough time to take your time. There is also evidence showing that accidents can sometimes take place closer to home because cyclists (and riders) stop paying attention and start going into ‘auto-pilot’ mode. Take note of this and make sure you keep focussed all the way to your front door!

cycle style tips for staying safe
Keep your bike maintained

Bike maintenance is key to safety, loose chains, faulty brakes and broken spokes can lead to accidents that could result in some pretty serious injuries. Its advisable to get your bicycle serviced between 2-4 times per year. The cycle surgery website states “How often you should service a bike depends entirely on how often you ride. For someone that only rides a couple of times a week in the summer months, a General Service twice annually should be sufficient. If you ride all year round, in all types of conditions, then servicing four times a year will help maintain the bike in tip-top condition”.

Bicycle components map graphic for cycling safety tips

In Summary:

  1. Wear high visibility clothes
  2. Unplug your headphones
  3. Make eye contact
  4. Wear appropriate clothing
  5. Have a bell and use it
  6. Ride slow
  7. Keep your bike maintained

Now that there are more cyclists on the road in cities like London, it is inevitable that more cycling incidents will happen. If they do, cyclists should know their rights for claiming compensation. Business like Your Legal Friend offer more information like why you should claim, what you can claim for and even how to report it to the police. Also importantly what you should do after a cycling incident. Exchanging details and looking for a witness is key.

If you have any other tips for safety when cycling in an urban setting, please add them here in the comments. Stay safe on your bike and #happycycling :)


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