Cycle Safety Tips
It seems that every time you turn on the computer or flick through the newspaper, another story or video of road rage pops up. Sadly, altercations between cyclists and motorists are becoming more frequent on our roads. As more riders take to the roads wearing GoPro’s and other fitted cameras, more and more cases are being filmed and shared all over the world. Although you can record these road rage incidents, it is also important to look at how to avoid them in the first place. Like always, it’s a two way street, but taking a few steps to ensure your own road safety is a perfect place to start.
Safety Tips For Cyclists:
Obey the Law
Yes, this may seem self-explanatory, but it’s easy to find reasons to bend the rules. Motorists often see cyclists in an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality, and this is exacerbated when they feel cyclists aren’t following traffic laws. Two of the biggest instances that incite road rage from motorists are cyclists riding against the flow of traffic and completely breezing through stop signs or red lights. To help avoid any road rage headed your way, make sure you respect the law.
The cyclist in this video is doing their part to obey the traffic laws, but unfortunately the driver isn’t. It’s up to both parties to stick to the rules, then hopefully cases like this could be avoided.
Ride With A Positive Attitude
Sometimes this is a tough ask, like when you find yourself in heavy traffic with motorists making sudden and unpredictable manoeuvres; but remember that you can often seem that way to motorists. It’s a tense situation for everyone, the thing to do is to ride defensively but with a calm, level-headed attitude. If someone does something stupid, try not to approach the situation aggressively.
This instructional video offers some great advice on keeping calm. Because at the end of the day, while we might enjoy watching videos of cyclists and drivers getting heated, it’s not something we want to experience.
Ride with Proper Safety Gear
We’ve said it before and its as true as ever, wearing proper safety clothing and accessories while you’re riding is the easiest way to stay safe on the roads. The more visible you are to motorists, the easier they can interact with you safely on the road.
Make sure you ride with bike lights (front and rear), especially at night, and have highly visible reflective clothing on. Proviz’s own Switch Cycling Jacket and REFLECT360 Jacket were recently named by The Telegraph as some of the best hi-vis cycling jackets of 2015, describing the REFLECT360 jacket as “astonishingly reflective”. With the highly reflective material, you put yourself in the best position to be seen by motorists and avoid finding yourself in a sticky situation on the road.
This video taken from a motorists perspective shows just how visible cyclists are with their reflective jackets on. Keep this in mind next time you ride.
Don’t Aggravate The Situation
If you find yourself a victim of road rage, it might seem very easy to react when provoked, but for your safety it’s better to distance yourself from the situation. Don’t return any gestures or shouts and don’t challenge the driver. Try get out of their way and note down what you can, like licence plate number and descriptions of the driver, car, and incident.