Road Safety Week: How to be Bike Smart

Clothing and Visibility

How you dress during cycling is a simple way to be more bike smart. It goes without saying that you should wear a helmet. If you fall off your bike, you almost always hit your head. A helmet offers vital protection to your skull and protects against facial injuries. We have a huge range of helmets in-store and online for both adults and children!

You should also install a bell or horn on your bike. Often, a pedestrian is not aware of a cyclist’s presence, particularly when emerging from behind them. Installing a bell or horn and using it, ensures you become more bike smart.

Lights and reflectors are equally as important, particularly during winter months. As the evenings become darker, it is fundamental that your bike is fitted with lights and reflectors. You should also wear reflective clothing during this time. Check out our range at Cycle King. During the day, when reflective clothing is not available or necessary, we recommend wearing bright colours to increase visibility.

 

Rules of the Road

To become more bike smart, you should get to know the rules of the road. Many of these are the same as driving a car. In fact, when cycling, you are considered a vehicle of the road! You should ride in the same direction as the traffic and obey all traffic signs. This includes stopping at red lights and stop signs and travelling the correct way down a one-way street. When available, you should use marked bike paths or lanes.

To help the traffic around you, you should signal well when cycling. Aim to make eye contact with a driver before making a turn or slowing down. It’s also a good idea to observe their general body language. This will give you better judgement as to whether they have seen you, sometimes eye contact isn’t enough!

You should also get to know the basic biking signals. The signals are usually done with the left arm, so the right hand should be kept on the handlebars for stability. If you’re not confident with signalling, it could be a good idea to practice in a quiet area before tackling the busy streets.

 

Spatial Awareness

Having good spatial awareness when cycling is key. You should always stay on the left side of the lane, riding with traffic, and ride in a straight line. This ensures that it’s easy for drivers to manoeuvre around you. If there are other cyclists on the road, you should remain in a single-file line with them.

One exception to the rule occurs when a street is too narrow for cars to pass. On this occasion, to increase visibility, cyclists are allowed to ride in the middle of the lane. If you’re a cyclist, be sure to keep an eye out for parked cars, and doors which might open on the street.

 

Keep Bike Roadworthy

It’s important to keep your bike roadworthy. This includes checking your brakes are working, tyre pressure is correct and more! Here at Cycle King, we have a full selection of servicing and repair options. Using these can help ensure your bike is safe and ready to ride! Check out the full range on our website and become more bike smart!

 

Be Sensible

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t use your phone while cycling. Don’t text and ride! Using a phone while on your bike reduces your awareness significantly, it can lead to serious accidents. You should similarly refrain from using headphones while cycling. Using headphones can make it difficult to hear approaching cars and pedestrians, increasing the risk of an accident. Similarly, drinking and cycling is an illegal offence.

You should consider installing a mirror on your bicycle. This will increase your awareness as you are able to keep track of the cars behind you. Finally, it is sensible to remain aware of the weather conditions in which you cycle. In wet weather, you should watch your speed. This is because surfaces become slippery and it consequently will take you longer to stop.

 

Tips for Drivers

Being more bike smart is equally important for drivers. As a driver, you should appreciate cyclist vulnerability. It’s clear that cyclists are more susceptible to injury if in an accident and this should be kept in mind. You should also consider cyclists’ rights. Cyclists are thought of as vehicles just like your car, and they follow the same traffic rules. For this reason, it’s important to adjust your attitude towards cyclists. They aren’t “in your way”, but equals to you as a driver.