Riding Safer While Cycle Training
With the departure of winter and the arrival of summer you are probably out on the road training hard. The sound of the chain, the air on your face, and the feeling of freedom is what we cyclists live for. Sadly, cars, busses, motorcycles, and trucks will also be present. With this in mind let us take a closer look at riding safer when cycle training. That is what this blog is all about.
Like all risk management avoiding the risk is the best course of action. Minimising the risk through riding on quieter roads with fewer horrible junctions like roundabouts is a good move. As a general rule avoid busy roads as much as possible, and cycle quieter routes.
Where you can and where it is preferable to your training and journey always use cycle lanes, especially if they put distance between you and the road.
Always ensure you know what traffic is around you. To this end never block out your hearing with headphones or anything else. It is often our ears that save our lives when cycling as we can hear that approaching car before we see it.
Ensure that you check over your right shoulder before you make a turn or manoeuvre and look ahead while cycling. Seeing obstacles in the distance gives you time to make decisions and act before they become problems.
Understanding Road Position
According to Britishcycling.org, there are two cycling positions:
Primary position or ‘taking the lane’ is where you ride in the middle of the lane and is used when you pass parked vehicles and executing other manoeuvres such as making a turn across oncoming traffic lanes, or approaching complex junctions such as roundabouts. This prevents cars overtaking you and makes you visible.
Secondary position or ‘normal’ is where you ride in the nearside third of the lane. When riding in this position ensure you give yourself space to avoid drains in the road. This also avoids other obstacles such as broken glass which tends to accumulate close to the kerb.
Watch Side Roads
Side roads can be always an unexpected affair for a cyclist. Traffic may pull out unexpectedly. The driver may not have seen you, or impatient drivers can overtake you and make a sharp turn in front of you, (‘left hooked’). It is always a good idea to move a little further into the centre of the lane when going past a side road. This makes you more visible and gives you a greater reaction time.
Make Eye Contact with Nearby Drivers
When making a turn or cycling a manoeuvre such as overtaking parked vehicles, always make eye contact with drivers who are around you and can potentially collide with your bike. Eye contact makes you real and visible, and as such most drivers will give you that little bit more space.
Be Clear When Signalling
Always ensure your signalling is visible before you make a manoeuvre when you ride. Vehicle drivers need to know what you’re planning to do and it is your responsibility to tell them.
On the same note ensure that you are wearing suitable safety gear such as helmets, are dressed to make you as visible as possible especially if riding at night, and ensure that all your safety equipment such as lights are working.
Ride safe, ride true.
More information on cycling safety can be found on Britishcycling.org.uk.
Submitted on 12/04/2016