Cycling is a great way to save money on transport and get some exercise at the same time. With the cost of petrol still almost as high as it was at its recession peak last year, it’s no wonder that more and more people in the UK are taking to their cycles.
Unfortunately, however, the number of cycle accidents per year is also rising. It’s no secret that cycling on city roads can be dangerous, but luckily there are plenty of things you can do to stay safe on even the busiest of roads.
Before setting out
Before setting out on your city bike ride, make sure that you have the correct equipment and that that equipment is in good condition. Single-sided racing pedals, for example, can be inconvenient in the city where rapid stops and starts at traffic lights are necessary. Similarly, the complicated gear changes that make mountain biking great fun can be an irritation when riding on mainly flat ground.
You may like to consider a fixed speed or hybrid bike which makes for a streamlined city cycling experience. Most importantly, make sure that you have a helmet, lights, and ideally reflective clothing or pads. Although the city is lit at night, it is easy to become almost invisible in the spots of darkness between street lamps.
While cycling on city roads
The key to being safe while cycling on city roads is observation and anticipation. Remember that your reaction distance can be as much as ten metres when travelling at 25mph; you really do have to keep your eyes open for any possible obstructions. One of the most common obstructions, of course, is car doors.
Try to give parked cars a wide berth if possible, and watch out especially for taxis where passengers may decide to get out at the most unexpected time. Watch the road itself for upcoming potholes, slippery manhole covers, and even discarded remnants of food: all of these can become extremely dangerous when riding in busy traffic.
If you are unlucky enough to be injured while cycling in the city, remember to get the driver’s name and insurance details if possible. Even if you think you are to blame, this may not in fact be the case, and if you have been injured due to a driver or even another cyclist’s negligence, you may be entitled to personal injury compensation. Call Accident Advice Helpline to discuss your case with a friendly professional adviser.