Cycling Safely

We feature here some general riding advice to help you get where you want quickly & safely

First some basics:

  • Be considerate to other road users and pedestrians
  • Ride in single file on cycle tracks, lanes and narrow roads when in traffic
  • Obey traffic signs and traffic light signals
  • Indicate to other road users if you intend to take a turning. If you want to turn right always look behind you before you indicate & move out across the road if it's clear & safe to do so
  • Wear a helmet
  • Don't ride on the pavement unless it is part of a shared-use cycle route
  • Avoid riding too close to another vehicle, allow space for a door to open 
  • Don't ride the wrong way up a one-way street
  • Look out for parked vehicles and for doors opening in your path - allow plenty of room when passing these vehicles
  • Look out for potholes, drains & overgrown branches or bushes that will impede you
  • Don't cycle too close to the gutter, ride about a metre (3 feet) out from the kerb, which will allow you to see and be seen or move in slightly if a large vehicle needs to pass you
  • If you see a vehicle on a side road that wants to turn onto your road, where you have priority, allow a greater margin of room to pass its front, but bear in mind there may be traffic behind you, & study any movement of its front wheels rather than look at the driver
  • Don't weave in and out of parked cars, maintain a straight line so drivers can see you
  • Try to anticipate potential problems as you ride e.g. doors on parked cars opening, vehicles turning across you without indicating, pedestrians stepping out in front of you etc. Be alert & look ahead.

Cycling in different conditions

At night

Cycling at night is just as practical and brings all the same benefits as cycling by day. However there are some simple but important steps to ensure that you are both safe and within the law.

Lights and reflectors

The law states that you must have at least two lights attached to your bike - a white light at the front and a red light at the rear. You should also have a red reflector at the rear and white reflector at the front. Flashing LED lights are also good & even better when used together with a fixed beam light at the rear. There is a wide range of cycle lights available & prices to match but get the best you can afford.

Dress for visibility

Wear bright reflective clothing when cycling at night. A reflective jacket or waistcoat that slips over your coat will help to define your shape in the dark. Reflective patches, badges, tape and stickers can be applied anywhere on the bike or rider, and are recommended to maximise your visibility.

Be alert

At night it is easier to spot approaching cars because of their headlights but remember that you may be dazzled by lights on full beam.

In the wet

Wet weather and even the threat of rain puts a lot of people off cycling. However, despite the reputation of British weather it's actually quite rare for regular cyclists to get a soaking. Wear bright waterproof clothing and consider using your lights, and check your bike especially brakes, tyres and gears, more regularly.

Cycle carefully

Roads become more slippery in the rain, surfaces such as painted road markings and metal plates/drain covers provide very little friction in the rain and can be extremely hazardous. Avoid applying your brakes too sharply - instead, cycle more slowly and carefully, especially down hills and around corners. In the autumn be aware of leaf litter that is often extremely slippery especially when cornering. Always be on the lookout for potholes & the build up of gravel along the roads & corners.

In hot weather

It's not usually necessary to take any special precautions for short everyday trips. However, on longer journeys, remember to use suntan lotion or to cover your arms and the back of your neck. A cycle cap or bandana can be worn underneath a helmet to avoid the full impact of the sun on your head. You should also drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, have a cage fitted to your bike so that you can carry a water bottle in it. It can also be worthwhile taking extra clothes for when you stop and may cool down particularly during the evenings.