10 Tips for Safe Cycling

In Cycling

Post updated May 2021

We all hear about the dangers of cycling on the roads, but what can we do to keep ourselves safe? Here are some good tips to help keep you safe when you are out on the bike. 

Ensure your bike is roadworthy

Regularly check your brakes and tyre pressure. Don't ignore any strange noises, vibrations, or jumping gears – they usually indicate a problem.

Know how to control your bike

Learn how to shift your body weight when making an emergency stop, be able to swerve safely, use your gears properly, control the bike while looking directly behind and confidently ride with one hand. On the road, ride with at least two of your fingers on your brake levers.

Don't be afraid to use the road

Cycling in parks and on cycle paths is great fun, but being able to use the road gives you the freedom cycling was intended to give you. Cycling on the pavement, even considerately, is against the law. If you are nervous about cycling on the road, brush up on your Highway Code or get some cycle training, so that you know exactly what is expected from you as a cyclist and the consideration you can rightly expect from motorists and other road users. This will help you to build the confidence you need to face the road. 

Know how to position yourself in traffic

Ride away from the kerb, never in the gutter, and at least a car door's width away from parked cars. Ride in the stream of traffic when you are able to match its speed. If you have to ride close to slower moving traffic or parked cars (for example on a narrow road), do so slowly so you have time to react to hazards (such as an opening door).

Remember to look behind you

Frequently check behind you, especially before changing position on the road. This attracts the attention of drivers as well as ensuring that you know what is happening around you.

Ensure good road communication

Communicate your intentions with hand signals and correct road positioning. Don't signal without looking behind first, as it may be unsafe to do so.

Know how to approach junctions

Arrive at junctions in the middle of your lane, whether you are turning left or right or going straight ahead. This prevents dangerous overtaking from traffic behind. At traffic lights, the least safe option is to undertake (on the left), so either wait your turn or consider overtaking (on the right) to get to the front before pulling in to the stream of traffic when it starts moving.

Know how to approach roundabouts

Arrive at, and move through, roundabouts in the middle of the most appropriate lane.

Be aware of large vehicles

Never cycle on the kerb side of any large vehicle at a junction – if you're in the driver's "blind spot", they won't be able to see you if they turn left. Always maintain enough distance behind or in front of any large vehicle so the driver can see you. If you can't see the mirrors, the driver probably can't see you.

Get some cycle training

If you are unsure about any of the points above, go on a training course. Check with your local authority for any subsidised or even free training opportunities they might offer.

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