CCCU Bicycle User Group - CCCUBUG
A reason often given for not cycling is that it's unsafe. While no activity can ever be completely safe there are many things you can do to help yourself be safe on the roads.
Defensive cycling is riding a bike in an assertive, confident manner that makes other road users pay attention to you. However, defensive cycling isn't easy because it doesn't usually come naturally. It needs practice, but the more you do it the better, and safer cyclist, you'll become. Here are some Safe Cycling Tips from Defensive Cycling, a UK website containing useful related info and videos.
As London is renowned for being such a
dangerous place to cycle, here are some simple but really useful
safety tips from the cycling section of the Transport for
Cycling safely makes obvious sense, so here are CCCUBUG's Top Safety Tips:
- Use your space
You have the right to be on the road, therefore always cycle away from the edge of the road, NOT in the gutter!
- Block the traffic where appropriate
Bad drivers will try to overtake you, good ones will not! If you are coming up to a blind bend, move to the middle of your lane to discourage following motorists from overtaking.
- Make eye contact
This ensures you are seen, and that they know you've seen them!
- Be predictable and firm
As long as you are doing something reasonable, and making it obvious what you are trying to achieve, few people will mind slowing for you. Never take anyone by surprise or force a quick reaction, though.
- Make yourself visible
You can only influence other road users if they can see you! Don't be one of those fools who wears black at night and has no lights. Wear hi-viz or bright clothing at ALL times, and have clean and efficient reflectors and lights if riding after dark.
- Be wary of pedestrians
Don't assume a pedestrian will see or hear you! Many are used to only listening for traffic and therefore will sometimes step into the road without looking. A bell can be useful but be aware that many pedestrians wear headphones.
- Anticipate danger
Allow room for car doors to open. Be aware of what is ahead of you. Scan the road ahead and expect other road users to not necessarily follow the rules of the road.
- Be courteous at all times
Breaking traffic laws and being pushy does not help the cyclists cause. If someone waits patiently for a safe moment to overtake you, acknowledge this as they pass. If someone slows to let you turn across the traffic, a quick wave doesn't go amiss. Likewise, don't respond to rudeness or bad driving that annoys you. Gesticulating or shouting is more likely to escalate the situation than solve anything. Better to get the number plate and report whatever occurred to the police...
It's also worth knowing your Highway Code. Here are the Rules for Cyclists
Are women cyclists in
more danger than men?
According to statistics, when it comes to encounters with lorry drivers, it would seem yes they ARE! This article from the online BBC Magazine, has safer cycling for female cyclists as its focus. Both the article and the comments which follow it, make for interesting reading.
Cycling safety versus
other modes of transport
The risk of cycling, per km travelled, is roughly the same as for pedestrians. Department for Transport figures for 2006 show that per billion passenger kilometres travelled there were 31 fatalities for cyclists and 36 for pedestrians (the figures for cars are 2.5 and for motorcycles it is 107).
Health benefits of
What the figures above don't take into account are the positive health benefits of cycling (or any moderate physical activity). There are many online articles stating the health benefits of cycling but here are just a few:
- NHS choices: Benefits of cycling
- CTC: Cycling for health and fitness
- London Cycling Campaign
- Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation
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