Good Bike Gear: Be Smart about Cycling10 Oct 2016
Guest blog from Anthony Boyd, Marketing and E-Commerce Executive of goodbikegear.com - a local bike company based in Mallusk:
With the evenings getting darker and the weather getting worse, it’s vital that you stay safe out there when on your bike! We love cycling, it’s our favourite way to get around but we’ve made our fair few mistakes and we’ve got the bruises to prove it! We’ve put together this list to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes we have!
- Follow the highway code – Stop at red lights and don’t be cycling on pavements (Unless it’s a shared path i.e. one with a cycle lane!). It’s all about keeping you safe and keeping everyone else safe
- Watch your speed – we all love going fast on bikes; the rush of adrenaline and feeling of just gliding when you hit that smooth bit of road. But it’s not safe in the colder, wetter months. Especially for inexperienced cyclists, one gust of wind and you could move you a few feet and into harm’s way. And the wet weather means longer stop times and danger of sliding, so be wary!
- Wear a helmet – Some people argue they don’t protect you that much but trust us from experience; when you fall off your bike you’d much rather hit the road with a helmet rather than your skull!
- Lights – Especially in the winter, it can get dark in a matter of minutes and you need to be seen at all times to minimise the risk from motorists.
- Wear Bright Clothes – Leading on from the last point – it doesn’t matter if black is your favourite colour; don’t leave room for doubt, wear your brightest most reflective clothes!
- Make eye contact – It’s the only way you can be certain that someone else has seen you. If you don’t think they have, don’t go. Leave no room for doubt.
- The majority of collisions are caused when the cyclist is on the inside of a vehicle, that’s turning left – unfortunately you can’t rely on the motorist to always use their indicators!
- Never cycle alongside large vehicles – they have the worst visibility and this is one of the major causes of crashes!
- Just keep your wits about you at all times – on the majority of occasions it won’t be you that’s causing the risks!
And for the motorists. There are two main pieces of advice I can give you, but they are the two pieces of advice that could save a life.
- Always look in your left mirror before turning left. My driving instructor used to refer to this as the difference between life and death. I used to think he was being over-dramatic but after cycling for a while, he wasn’t exaggerating. If you see a cyclist in your left mirror, either slow down and let them go past or wait for them to stop – do NOT cut them up. They have less protection than you, remember.
- Always give a cyclist as much room as you would a car. It’s in the highway code and the police in England are now starting to clamp down on it, so expect it to be rolled out here soon enough too!