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Cycle safety

November 8, 2017 4:41 PM


We've been sent this advice by the local police. It is particularly relevant with dark nights and in the light of a number of cycle/car and cycle/pedestrian incidents recently.

Cycling should be fun, but it should also be safe. By following a few simple safety rules, you can make sure you keep out of trouble on the roads.

By law you must:

  • Make sure that lights and reflectors work and are kept clean
  • Have white front and red rear lights lit when you are using your bicycle at night.
  • Not cycle on the pavements

What equipment should I have when I go cycling?

Before you go out cycling, it's important that you have the correct equipment. This ensures that you stay safe whilst using the road. Some of the equipment that you require makes it easier for other road users to see you, protecting both them and you.

The equipment you should have:

  • A cycle helmet which conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and fastens securely
  • Appropriate clothes for cycling. Avoid clothes which may get tangled in the chain or in a wheel, or may obscure your lights
  • Light-coloured or fluorescent clothing which helps other road users to see you in poor light
  • Reflective clothing and/or accessories (belt, arm or ankle bands) which help other road users to see you in the dark
  • The compulsory lights and reflectors on your bike. These are:
  • White front light
  • Red rear light
  • Red rear reflector
  • Amber/yellow pedal reflectors - front and back of each pedal.

Where can I cycle?

These rules are found in the Highway Code https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code

Do cycle

Don't cycle

Cycle lanes (on the road)

On the pavement - unless signs show that cyclists are allowed to cycle on it.

Cycle tracks and bridleways (found away from the road)

Through red lights

Bus lanes (if there's a sign saying cyclists can use them).

The wrong way down a one-way street (unless signs say that cyclists can do otherwise).

Across a pelican, puffin or zebra crossing - but you can cycle across a toucan crossing when the green light for cyclists show

On motorways

Where you see a 'no cycling' sign

How can I cycle safely?

Other motorists usually travel quicker than cyclists, and may have less time to react to hazards.

You need to:

  • Ride positively and decisively
  • Look and signal before you start, stop or turn
  • Ride well clear of the kerb - one metre away or in the centre of the left lane
  • Make eye contact with drivers to let them know you've seen them
  • Acknowledge any courtesy from drivers
  • Ride a car-door width away from parked cars.

Cycling on shared paths

People may not see or hear you approaching on shared paths so:

  • Slow down
  • Use your bell to let people know you're there
  • Be prepared to slow down or stop if necessary
  • Keep to the cyclists' side of the path.

Bicycle security

How can I keep my bicycle safe?

To help keep your bike safe, follow these basic security tips:

  • Do not leave your bike in isolated places
  • Park safely and considerately; never leave your bike in a place where it will be a danger or obstruction to others - particularly older people, young children or people with disabilities
  • Always lock your bike when leaving it, even if it's only for a few minutes
  • Secure your bike to proper stands or robust street furniture
  • Lock your bike through the frame, not the wheels
  • Secure or remove wheels
  • Remove smaller parts and accessories that can't be secured, especially lights, pumps and quick-release saddles
  • Cycle markingConsider getting your bike security marked so that police can check who it belongs to and return it, if it's been stolen.
  • And remember, more than 50% of bike thefts occurs in owners' homes - so you may want to keep your bike locked up at all times.

Maintaining your bike

You need to keep your bike well maintained and in good working order. Carry out regular checks to make sure that:

  • Tyres are in good condition and inflated to the pressure shown on the tyre
  • Gears are working correctly
  • The chain is properly adjusted and oiled
  • The saddle and handlebars are adjusted to the correct height
  • Your brakes are efficient.