At Real Bike Insurance we’re all cyclists. We’ve crashed and made our own mistakes, but all too often we get to see our customer’s mistakes. Here are a few great tips to stay out of trouble when cycling on the road:
- Obey all traffic laws: seems simple, doesn’t it! Don’t ride through red lights or stop signs. Don’t ride on the wrong side of the road or make illegal turns. Disobeying traffic laws means your actions may come as a surprise to other road users, increasing your risk of accident.
- Be visible: especially at dawn/dusk or at night, but also in the day. There is a dazzling array of super bright and compact lights available for cyclists that can be seen for up to 1km, and even in daylight. The easier you are to see the less likely you are to be involved in an accident.
- Assume you are invisible: don’t assume that other road users (drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, dogs…) have seen you. Other road users may not be expecting to see a cyclist, and may be looking for other obstacles and road elements. If you assume that you are invisible you’ll make sure to put yourself in a safe position on the road.
- Don’t ride with headphones: listening to the traffic around you gives you 360 degree vision. Hearing a booming truck approaching lets you know to stay alert. Kids yelling are often followed by a ball across the road or a runaway dog. Actively listen to what’s going on and you’ll be immediately safer.
- Regularly check your bike: this is more than making sure that nothing falls off if you pick your bike up. Little things can cause big failures and accidents on the road. Incorrectly adjusted gears or a worn out chain can cause chain suck and dropped chains when sprinting, both of which may cause you to crash. Loose spokes in your wheels can cause your rims to crack or fail, possibly whilst you’re riding. If you are not sure how to properly check your bike then make sure you have your bike shop do this for you regularly.
- Riding in a bunch: riding in a bunch is great fun, but can be very dangerous too. A bunch of riders is like a row of dominoes, so pay attention! Keep your head up and eyes on what’s happening ahead of you. Don’t change line or speed suddenly.
- Choosing a riding bunch: if you are new to riding in a bunch then start with a club or group that accepts new riders and will guide you as you learn to ride safely in the bunch. If the group you ride with is too fast, rides erratically or illegally then consider finding a different group to ride with.