Cycling safety advice
Riding a bicycle is a great form of exercise, and it’s fun. If you follow a few basic health and safety tips, you’ll get the most out of your cycling and reduce your risk of injury.
Make sure you’re visible to other road users and pedestrians. Keep away from the kerb, wear bright or fluorescent clothing in daylight or poor light, and reflective clothing at night. Always use lights after dark, in the rain or if the weather is overcast.
Don’t cycle too close to the kerb
Give yourself space on the left and don’t feel you have to cycle close to the kerb if a car behind you gets impatient. By moving further into the road you’ll avoid drain covers and roadside debris. You’ll also help drivers think more carefully about when it’s safe to pass you.
Always wear a helmet as this reduces the risk of head injury if you’re in an accident. To be effective, the helmet must be level on the head, with the pads inside touching all the way around and the strap comfortably snug.
Make eye contact
Always be aware of who is around you. Make eye contact with drivers and let them know you’ve seen them. This will tell you if the driver has seen you or not, which is especially helpful before you make a manoeuvre.
Make your intentions clear
Show drivers what you plan to do in plenty of time and when it’s safe to do so. Always look and signal before you start, stop or turn. Looking over your shoulder while indicating with one hand can be tricky at first, so practise this first when you’re not on the road.
- Look behind you before you turn, overtake or stop.
- Use arm signals before you turn right or left.
- Obey traffic lights and road signs.
- Don’t ride on the pavement unless there’s a sign saying that you can.
- On busy or narrow roads don’t cycle next to another person.
- When overtaking parked cars, watch out for car doors opening suddenly and allow room to pass safely.
- Let someone know your intended route and what time you think you’ll be back.
- Wear sunscreen on skin not covered by clothing.
- Take a drink with you to reduce the risk of dehydration.
- Pack identification, money and your mobile phone (if you have one) in case of emergencies.
- Never use a mobile phone while cycling.
- Don’t wear headphones. You need to hear what’s going on around you.
- Cycling shorts reduce the risk of skin irritation because the material doesn’t bunch and rub against your buttocks.