Cycling Tips: How to Stay Safe on UK Roads

Cycling has become a more popular form of transport for citizens of the UK in recent years, with a number of key causes behind the boost. In 2020, it was reported that 20% of the population cycled more than once a week – a six percentage-point rise on previous years.

With the cost of running a car rising yet further in the last few months, riding a bike has become an even more compelling option for commuters and day-trippers alike. If you’re thinking of swapping your car for a bike, what should you know about riding safely?

Read the Highway Code

The Highway Code is something of a bible for road users, indicating regulations and best practices for safe and efficient usage of public roads. While the Highway Code may seem to be primarily directed at drivers, it also has key provisions for cyclists and pedestrians – which were recently subject to change.

One change for cyclists was a revision of guidelines for safe placement on the road. Where cyclists were once relegated to the gutter or kerbside, they are now permitted to cycle where they feel the safest on the road – including the centre of a lane. Knowing your rights can allow you to cycle with safety and confidence.

Telegraph Your Movements

As a cyclist – and as outlined in the Highway Code –, you are uniquely vulnerable on the road. Making a mistake when cycling can put you in the path of a car much larger and heavier than you, causing serious injury. As such, signaling your intent on the road can ensure other drivers know your movements and act accordingly. This is particularly important when turning corners; use your hands to signal direction when turning.

Using your hands as turning signals is just one part of a larger, essential approach to using UK roads, whether you are a cyclist or driver. That approach is predictability or endeavoring to use roads in a way that other road users can understand and anticipate. If you are prone to making sudden stops or changing lanes without indicating your intentions, you are significantly increasing the risk of involvement in an accident.

Stay Alert

But the onus is not just on other drivers when it comes to your safety. Other people can make mistakes, and you should ensure that you are vigilant for hazards to that effect. Watch out for drivers opening car doors into your path, or pedestrians crossing the road.

Unfortunately, there are cases in which an accident is unavoidable; where, despite an abundance of caution, an unpredictable event or driver error results in an accident and potential injury. In the event that you suffer such a cycling accident through no fault of your own, though, you may be eligible for a compensation claim. While this won’t protect you from injury, it can ensure your recovery doesn’t impact your finances too heavily.

Wear Protective Equipment

Lastly, and perhaps most essentially, you should ensure that you are wearing appropriate protective equipment for your ride. Reflective clothing is a must to improve your visibility at night, and a bike helmet will help prevent serious injury in the event of an incident.

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    Cycling Tips: How to Stay Safe on UK Roads — Bike Hacks