Tips for Safer Cycling

Write By: admin Published In: Bikepedia Created Date: 2013-12-05 Hits: 5956 Comment: 0

The following are some advisory notes to enhance your safety while cycling. Please note that cycling (like walking or driving) is an activity undertaken at the individuals risk.

These tips should be read in conjunction with the advice of the Road Safety Authority.

Your bike should be the right size for you, and the saddle and handlebars should be adjusted to the right height for your body. As a rule of thumb, your legs should not be fully extended when you are pedalling, and you should be able to reach the ground with ease with your feet when you are slowing or stopped.

Make sure your brakes are in good condition and it is not only a legal requirement but also common sense to have a bell on your bike, in an easily reachable place. Although it is not required by law, the Road Safety Authority recommends that you wear a cycle helmet and hi-viz clothing.

If you are carrying anything, tie it securely to the back carrier, use the basket, or use panniers. Carrying things on your handlebars is not advised.

Remember, the Rules of the Road apply to all road users so you should familiarise yourself with them – especially the section dedicated to cycling – before taking to the road. The road, we stress, never the footpath.

Obey traffic signs - red lights mean stop for cyclists as well!

Always be alert to what’s happening around you. Wearing headphones while cycling is not advised.

If you are in any doubt about the safety of a manoeuvre, you can always get off and walk your bike. Not only is this acceptable, it might even be quicker!

When you brake in an emergency, keep your weight on the saddle. Apply the back brake before the front. On very steep hills, consider walking.

When cycling at night, it is not only a legal requirement, but a vital safety measure, that you have a white front light, a red back light and a rear reflector. Also, consider wearing a reflective ‘high-visibility’ jacket or reflective strips on clothing. These help motorists to see you. Be Safe, Be Seen!

Always service your bike regularly.


Passing parked cars:

Many city streets will have parking for cars on the road. When cycling alongside a line of parked cars, leave sufficient room – ideally not less than 1 metre – between you and the cars in case a door opens suddenly. If you are passing a parked car, signal in advance, check for traffic approaching from behind, move out when it is safe to do so, and pass at least 1 metre away from the car.


  • Cars turning left:

If a car ahead of you indicates that it is turning left, don’t move up between the car and the kerb, even if there’s a marked cycle lane. Allow the car to make its turn safely. It is advisable to allow cars turning left at junctions room to make their turn.


  • Turning left on a bicycle:

If you plan to turn left from a main road onto a side road, signal in advance of the junction to communicate your intention to other road users. As you approach the turn, slow down, stay alert and keep your eyes on the road you are turning onto.

If you are turning left from a side road onto a main road, stop at the junction and wait for a gap in the traffic, then join the main road in the usual position near the kerb. Even though you will be taking a position between the traffic and the kerb, it is advisable to wait for a gap in order not to alarm the drivers on the main road. Be particularly alert to the presence of other cyclists near the kerb line.


  • Turning right:

Depending on the type of junction, there are different ways to turn right.

If you want to turn right where there are no traffic lights – either onto a side road, or at a junction – signal well in advance, check for traffic approaching from behind and move out to the right hand side of the lane (or to the left hand side of the lane if the lane is only for traffic turning right) when it is safe to do so and stop at a safe point. If you are entering a side road, this point is opposite the lane you are entering. If you are joining a main road from a side road, this is usually the centre of the road, behind the stop line. When there is a gap in the traffic (you should check both directions if you’re coming out of a side road), make your turn.

At a junction with traffic lights on a busy road, it may be preferable to keep to the left of the road as you move through the junction, and then to join the front of the stationary line of traffic on the left. When this traffic gets a green light, move off as normal.

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