Cycling participation numbers are on the rise and this number isn’t just made up of MAMIL’s and serious looking part-time athletes, nope, the number of people using their bikes as a primary mode of transport is also on the up! Great news for our planet and our creaking and groaning NHS! Sadly, here in London at least, I feel like we have a fair way to go in making the roads feel safe. There’s still a huge amount of animosity between drivers and cyclists which is scary considering that drivers are wrapped in a huge chunk of protective metal. Anyway, the point of this post isn’t to bash drivers, I think that as with anything, you get good drivers and good cyclists and then you get some not-so-good drivers and not-so-good cyclists. I see plenty of cyclists making silly mistakes, as I do drivers, it’s just that the consequences are so much worse for those of us on two wheels. So, I figured with it being road safety week, why not share a few safe cycling tips and pointers that have helped keep me safe over the few years that I have been cycling.
I see you rolling your eyes at me but I promise that safe cycling doesn’t have to be boring and no one is perfect, it’s just about incorporating a few things into your routine that could potentially save your life.
ONE | Pick your position carefully, if you’re in busy traffic I would suggest riding well away from the kerb, possibly even centrally in primary position. This may seem scarier but it has so many benefits;
TWO | Get used to looking around you, look over your shoulder regularly, making eye contact with drivers is making sure that they have actually seen you. It also signals that you might be about to change position in some way, encouraging them to hang back and give you some space.
THREE | Following on from above, get used to riding with only one hand meaning that you can signal clearly and confidently. Always look before you signal and don’t just signal and immediately pull out. I’ve seen this happen so many times and I’m sure I’ve made the mistake of doing it before but honestly, don’t. Just because you’ve signaled, does not mean that everyone behind you has seen or is in a position to accommodate your plans.
FOUR | Be aware. If you’re cycling in a busy City like London, there is literally a plethora of potential issues around you at any one time. Make sure that whilst you’re cycling you’re focusing only on the task at hand, mentally writing that shopping list can wait for later. Also, not to sound like a total Nana but listening to music whilst riding is a fairly stupid idea, essentially voiding one of your most useful senses.
FIVE | It’s not a race. Ok so I’m as impatient as the rest of you and I also kinda like racing, however, the commute is not a pissing contest, folks. We all want to arrive at our destinations, correct? Ride confidently and don’t dawdle but don’t be so focused on racing each other that you start to forget about the cars around you. On that note, get used to using your brakes and feeling confident about your stopping distances from various speeds. I always keep a couple of fingers on each brake, just so I can respond quickly if anything happens.
SIX | Apply some of the same rules that you would as a driver… Don’t get smashed and ride. Don’t text whilst riding. You know the drill but I feel like I have to add it in, in the interest of being thorough.
SEVEN | Make sure you’re wearing the right kit. At the very least a properly fitted helmet and if there’s even a small chance of riding in low light then both front and rear lights, that’s white lights for the front and red for the rear. When fitting your helmet make sure that it fits snugly, you should be able to tilt your head forwards and backwards without it moving.
On the subject of kit… As a resounding WELL DONE for getting to the end of this post. The team at LIV have got you covered and we’re giving away a brand spanking new Rev MIPS Helmet, worth £109!
All you have to do is comment below and you’ll be entered into the draw! (It would also be super nice if you followed LIV Cycling on Instagram they’re pretty rad and really support getting women out onto two wheels!) Winner will be picked at random and will be announced on Monday 27th November!
Great tips! Have to share this!
Thanks love! Good luck! x
Thanks for the cycling tips Hayley – I always pretend I’m a car and never text or do anything silly!
That’s so true! Drivers tend to treat you so much better when you’re confident about doing so… Good luck! x
Agreed! Having been knocked off my bike by a car when I was 18 I’m now super careful when I ride on the roads. I behave like a car when I’m cycling so that drivers have no choice but to give me the space.
Absolute best way! Sorry you got knocked off and well done for getting your confidence back! I imagine it’s not easy! Good luck! x
Great tips there! I love Liv and their ethos of getting more women riding.
Thanks love! Yeah, they’re pretty damn cool! xx
Super super post & so glad people are talking more about this. As you know I have had two accidents on my bike, 1 terribly bad caused by a driver opening door. My helmet saved me! It is imperative to wear one. But as you may know my helmet was damaged In the process. Could do with a new one (wink, wink)
Thanks love! Agh I remember that day, so horrible, SO glad it wasn’t even more serious! xx
Great post and tips that every cyclist should read – I deffo should keep in mind the one about not riding so close to the kerb – im very nervous of the cars getting so close when I go further out! Getting more used to it now i’m bike commuting on the Brommie!
Thanks love! Yeah that’s a biggie, 9 times out of 10 they’ll give you more space but there’s always that one idiot! xx
Such great tips! I’m more a recreational rider than a city rider- mainly as cycling on road scares me, but these are so good for all novices xx
I don’t blame you! It’s not so bad when you get going though, I struggle more with a lack of direction! Ha! xx
Great article and tips on staying safe! It’s hard to get a balance of cycling to protect yourself and being dangerous yourself especially when commuting in heavy traffic. I also had an accident earlier in the year along a cycle path, so it’s always good to ride just as safely and vigilantly when not on the roads, thanks again xx
You’re so right! xx
Safety always comes first!
Yep, things can happen in a split second, it’s so important to be prepared and aware! Thanks for stopping by!
Great advice, lots of stylist fluro kit around now to help be seen.
You’re so right! I didn’t mention high viz-kit cause it’s mentioned in pretty much every other cycling safety post out there but it’s such an important one! (I struggle because I love all black kit!)
I’m also still learning the commuting rope, always worried if I take up the centre of a lane that the motorists will get angry. However I do it more and more now, especially at busy London junctions!!!