If you’ve recently taken up cycling, then it’s likely you’re already feeling the benefits. However, while making the most of the freedom that getting on your bike can bring, it can be all too easy to forget the dangers.

Even the most experienced cyclists can sometimes forget just how important safety is, so we’ve compiled a few top tips to ensure you are equipped with all the know- how you could possibly need while out on the road.

The facts

At Ski & Trek, we want to help you make the right decisions about exercising, but we don’t want to mask the potential risks. Without the right know-how, cycling can be dangerous, and accidents do happen.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, 2,867 cyclists were seriously injured on the roads in 2013, while 103 were killed. In total, there were 17,480 incidents involving cyclists, so it is essential you do your homework before heading out in order to prevent collisions.

Visibility

First and foremost, you should always ensure you are visible to other drivers and pedestrians. Always wear fluorescent clothing, even in daylight, as well as reflective garments at night. It should also go without saying that you should use lights at night, or on days when the weather is particularly bad and visibility is limited.

Protective headgear

Although the effectiveness of cycling helmets has come under question, we would recommend always wearing one in order to prevent injury should you be involved in an accident. Helmets should always be securely strapped underneath the chin, and the pads inside should make contact with your head all the way around.

No distractions

We know the journey to and from work can be a bit dull without music, but wearing headphones while on your bike can be dangerous. When cycling, it is best to avoid using devices that could be a distraction, as they can limit your awareness of nearby cars and other road users.

Have confidence

Believe it or not, your confidence levels are likely to have a huge impact on the way you ride. Yes, taking risks like darting out in front of cars or running red lights are an obvious no-no, but similarly, being too cautious by riding too slowly, or hesitating at junctions, can be just as risky. Always ensure you read up on the dos and don’ts of road safety, and consider all aspects of your journeys  before setting off.

Distance to kerb

Although you always want to give cars enough room, never cycle too close to the kerb. Ensure you have adequate space on your left, even if you feel drivers behind you may be getting impatient. Giving yourself this space will help you to avoid running into drain covers - not to mention the fact you’ll help drivers know when it’s safe to pass you.

Eye contact

This might sound a bit odd to those unfamiliar with the concept, but it is helpful to make eye contact with drivers so they know you have seen them - and vice versa. This way, you’ll know you can make a manoeuvre without any risk of crashing.

Similarly, it’s important you make your intentions clear to motorists by using the appropriate hand signals. Give fellow road users plenty of time to react to your planned move to prevent a collision. It could also be worth practising the act of looking over your shoulder while indicating with your hand, as this can quite often be difficult to master.

Play by the rules

While the actions of motorists can very often leave cyclists in danger, there is no denying that those riding the bikes can also put themselves at risk. Having a degree of cycling etiquette is key for staying safe, and keeping those around you happy. Follow our top tips to ensure you are playing by the rules:

  • Use cycle lanes when appropriate. Although this is not compulsory, doing so is likely to make your journey much safer than without, particularly if you are not the most confident cyclist.
  • Never weave in and out of traffic without signalling, and do not change direction suddenly, as this can be particularly dangerous for fellow road users.
  • Always ensure you have pedestrians at the forefront of your mind, and use your bell to inform others of your presence.