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Date: 18 January 2020
There are lots of reasons why cycling is a great way to travel – it’s fun, is an easy way to get from A to B and is relatively cheap, not to mention eco-friendly. Best of all, cycling also offers lots of health benefits by helping to keep you fit and active.
If you are going to cycle anywhere it's important to keep yourself safe. Cycling on the roads can be dangerous if you do not take care and it’s no surprise that with more cyclists on the roads, accidents are on the rise too.
Keep yourself safe and prevent accidents by following these simple steps.
It's important to make yourself visible to other roads users both during the day and at night. You should wear:
- brightly coloured or fluorescent clothing to help others see you
- reflective clothing/items such as ankle bands, especially when it’s dark
- suitable clothing – avoid clothing that could get caught in your chain or restrict your movement
- practical footwear
Helmets can help prevent a minor head injury if you fall from your bike.
You should wear a helmet:
- fastened securely by straps under your chin – you should only be able to fit two fingers between the strap and your chin
- that has a British Standard kite mark
- that is well-fitting. It should be positioned just above your eyebrows and should not tilt backwards or forwards
Replace your helmet every five years. Don't buy a second-hand helmet as it may be damaged.
Using lights and reflectors is a really effective way of making yourself visible to others. If you use your bike at night or when visibility is poor, you are required by law to have:
- a white front light
- a red rear light
- a red rear reflector
- amber/yellow pedal reflectors – front and back on each pedal
When you're cycling on busy roads you need to show others on the road what you plan to do.
- Show your intentions
- Indicate left and right turns by using your arms to signal which way you're going to turn
- Look and signal before you start, stop or turn
- Make eye contact with drivers to let them know you have seen them
- Stay alert
- Make sure you give the road your full attention
- Don't listen to music, or use headphones or a mobile phone while riding your bike as you may not see or hear vehicles around you
- Adhere to the Highway Code. It may be tempting to beat the traffic but ignoring the rules of the road can be very dangerous. Make sure you:
- ride one metre away from the kerb or in the centre of the left lane
- ride a car door's width away from parked cars
- don’t dodge in and out of traffic in an attempt to jump a queue
- stop for red lights and pedestrians on crossings
It’s also important to keep your bicycle in good condition as this will help prevent accidents.
- Make sure your tyres are pumped to the right pressure and are in good condition
- Check that your brakes work
If you intend to ride on busy roads it's a good idea to undertake cycle training.
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