It’s easy to be put off the idea of cycling in traffic. Knowing these three basic safety tips can help you begin to cycle safely and confidently on the roads.
Positioning – DON’T get too close to the kerb or edge. Take a position slightly more out into the road so you are more visible to drivers and other road users, have a better position to see ahead yourself, and avoid any leaves and rubbish in the gutter.
This positioning also means drivers do not have a narrow gap to pass you while there is oncoming traffic – you are safer if they wait until the road is clear to overtake wider.
Visibility – Make sure drivers know you are there! Put on your lights at dusk and in the dark, and wear bright clothes to make you more visible to other road users. A helmet makes you more visible over the roof of vehicles, and some riders have a light on their helmet too.
The most important aspect of being visible is your positioning. At junctions, traffic lights, roundabouts, and any areas of increased hazard, it is best to ride in the centre of the traffic lane where drivers are more likely to be looking for something coming their way.
Observation – Early observations give you more time to plan and execute any manoeuvres. You should always ride scanning ahead for hazards, but just like drivers do mirror checks, it is important to keep an eye on what is happening behind you. ALWAYS look over your shoulder well before changing direction or moving across. You can get handlebar mirrors, but the advantage of looking over your shoulder is that any drivers behind you are then aware you are wanting to make a manoeuvre.
Rules of the Road
It’s important to know the rules of the road before you set off on your bike, or even on foot, to safely share the road with others.
Click here for top tips on keeping safe on our roads.
Think! Norfolk has a new campaign called “Mind Out” that gives some useful information for cyclists travelling in urban areas. For more information please click to download the MIND pdf
Your riding position can make a big difference to making your journey more comfortable and take less physical effort:
Is your saddle at the right height?
Set your seat height about level with your hips when stood on the floor in shoes. The balls of both feet should comfortably reach the ground. If you are less confident on your bike, lower your seat so you can have your feet flat on the ground, but be aware that a lower seat position makes it more effort to pedal and can affect your knees.
Can you reach the handlebars and brakes easily?
Your handlebars should be in comfortable reach. Try this test: if you place your elbow against the tip of the saddle, your fingertips should just reach the handlebar.
Your brake levers should be set so that when you pull them in your wrists are in line with your arm and not bent.