Many people across the country love getting out on their bikes and enjoying some fresh air and exercise. But there are many more people who are put off by the dangers of cycling, or who just don’t understand the rules of the road so are not comfortable enough to get out there.
We’ve looked at some common questions about safer cycling below.
Are cyclists the most vulnerable users?
Although rates of cycling accidents are very high on our roads, cyclists are not necessarily the most vulnerable road users. Pedestrians and motorbike riders have a higher number of fatal accidents than cyclists.
However, there are still considerable risks to cyclists, and they are ten times more likely to be killed on our roads than drivers of cars. Cyclists need to be wary of approaching traffic at junctions and roundabouts, as this is where the most accidents with cyclists occur. Other road users should look out for cyclists and give them plenty of room when passing and overtaking.
Should I wear a helmet when cycling?
It’s a long held debate with cyclists, to wear a helmet or not to wear a helmet? Legally, you do not have to wear a helmet if you are riding a bike on our roads. However, helmets have been shown to protect people from minor to more serious head injuries in an accident, so is it worth taking the risk?
Previous research has shown that some people would be put off cycling by the thought of being forced to wear a helmet. But if you can protect your head, even in a small way, it’s definitely worth donning the helmet when you go out cycling. They might not be the most stylish item of clothing you own but your head is worth it!
Should I cycle close to the kerb?
No, cyclists should not ride too close to the kerb. Riding close to the kerb puts cyclists more at risk from parked cars opening doors, pedestrians stepping out into the road and the risk of hitting a pothole. With drains and manhole covers, they are also likely to be less level.
You should not position yourself too closely to the kerb. This also discourages drivers from squeezing past you and putting you in dangerous situations. Cyclists can indicate to a driver when it is appropriate and safe for them to overtake by pulling closer to the kerb, allowing more space for them to overtake.
Is it a legal requirement for cyclists to have lights and reflectors on their bikes?
Yes, in most instances it is a legal requirement for cyclists to have the correct lights that are clearly visible. If you are cycling at dusk or dawn, or in the dark, you should ensure you have lights on your bike. You should have red lights to the rear and white to the front – just like cars. This enables other road users to see you better and understand your direction, speed and position in failing light, so they are not just a legal requirement but will improve your safety whilst riding.
Is it dangerous to cycle with a bag or basket?
No, driving with a bag or something in a basket on the bike isn’t always dangerous. Cyclists should know their limits on the weight they can safely ride with and make sure the weight is evenly distributed across the bike to avoid weaving on the bike or tilting to one side.
Whatever your experience, and wherever you live, there is no arguing with the health benefits of cycling. Add that to the reduced level in pollution from using our cars less and you have two great positives to encourage you to get out on your bike.
Help reduce cycling accidents
Make sure you feel comfortable and safe riding your bike on the roads. Taking control of the roads and controlling different situations can make you feel safer and making eye contact with other road users means you know for sure that they have seen you.
However, if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a road traffic accident whilst out cycling, Freeclaim Solicitors can help. We have expert solicitors in cycling accidents who will not only advise you about making a claim for compensation, they can also help you to gain access to early treatment and support, so that you can get back out on your bike as quickly as possible.
Call us FREE today on 0800 612 7340 to see how we could help you. All enquiries are free with no obligation.