The idea of cycling more is an appealing one – after all, you can combine exercise with travelling and feel smug in the knowledge you are cutting your carbon footprint. But when it comes down to it, the reality can be a little scary if you are conducting your daily commute by bike in the city or simply cycling for pleasure in an urban environment.
Make sure that you are properly prepared before getting in the saddle, ranging from what you should be wearing to the rules of the road.
Before even jumping on your bike, ensure you are wearing the right attire. As well as being clothes that are comfortable and won’t get in the way of the activity, what you wear should also be reflective. While this is especially important at night, bright colours will also draw attention to you during the day and help other road users to give you the room you need. Keep out of drivers’ blind spots to help prevent accidents.
The temptation when riding a bike is to oscillate between being a road-using vehicle and a pedestrian depending on the circumstances, nipping onto the pavement when required. This should not be undertaken, as in the eyes of the law, bikes are vehicles and should obey the same rules that cars, vans and trucks must adhere to. This means taking notice of all road signs, signalling when appropriate and being aware of all other road users.
Your bike should be equipped with a bell, so don’t be afraid to use it. This and the correct hand signals will help other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians know what you will be doing next. Not only will this help to keep you safe, it will also ensure traffic can move effectively throughout the city’s road system.
Cyclists should be on alert at all times to ensure they can react to any situation that occurs. Caution and patience are also important skills to nurture in a bid to be the best example of cycling practice possible. If you behave correctly, then you can hope and expect other drivers to do the same.
It is often unpredictable behaviour that can lead to accidents or road rage, so be consistent in the way you cycle. This will allow other road users to know what you will do next and adjust their behaviour accordingly. Think about their intentions as well as your own and everyone will be able to get to their destination in a civilised manner.