5 Tips for Cyclers to Stay Safe on the Road
In the U.K., driving and cycling are two vastly different lifestyles. However, when both hobbies share the same limited space, their frustrating differences can cause tense situations. Fortunately, there are etiquette tips and road safety practices that cyclists can implement to prevent unsafe conditions from arising on the road.
1. Set Your Headlight to Strobe
The main difference between driving and cycling is that a cyclist has a much smaller mass and a significantly lower centre of gravity than a driver. On top of that, changing directions quickly and efficiently is a fundamental and essential part of cycling. This can make it difficult for other drivers to predict your movements and lead to dangerous situations.
Many cyclists use their bike light to their advantage when riding at night by setting it to strobe or flashing rates of 20-50 times per minute. This allows the cyclist to be seen easily over long distances, decreases the chance of the bike being hit by another vehicle and makes it easier for other drivers to see the cyclist.
2. Observe Your Surroundings
Even though a cyclist's mass is small, the fact that your centre of gravity is lower than a driver's can make it more difficult to stop or change directions. To account for this, cyclists must be careful to stay aware of their surroundings at all times. This can help keep both drivers and cyclists safe.
Additionally, it's important to ride in a position that allows the rider to make quick and frequent changes to the bike's direction. This makes it more likely that the cyclist will react to potential obstacles. These factors should be kept in mind when deciding the route to travel and ride on.
3. Yield the Right of Way
In the United Kingdom, cyclists are considered to have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motorised vehicles. However, one of the main differences is that cyclists are required by law to stop at red lights and stop signs, just like other cars. In addition to this, in the United Kingdom, drivers are only permitted to pass a cyclist when they can complete the manoeuvre safely.
Drivers need to be aware of cyclists and other road users at all times and maintain a safe distance, mainly if the cyclist indicates their intentions to change the direction of the bike. If a driver is unsure, it's recommended that the driver passes at a distance from the cyclist that will allow the driver to bring their car to a complete stop if they need to.
4. Be Courteous, But Withstand Pressure
Finally, it's important to remember that cycling is a hobby enjoyed by many people. Like any other activity, cyclists are more interested in being safe and responsible than inconsiderate. However, if there is pressure to ride unsafely, cyclists should be prepared to stand their ground and stay safe and responsible.
5. Never Ride Against Traffic
Cyclists should never ride against traffic. Although it may be tempting to do so, many dangerous situations can arise if a cyclist is biking on the wrong side of the road. For example, if a cyclist were biking in traffic, they could be hit by a car if they rode in front of it. Another potential danger that arises is when a cyclist is biking against traffic; the driver will have a more difficult time seeing the cyclist; this can put the cyclist and driver at risk of a collision.
Although a few challenging situations can arise when sharing the road with drivers, many great cyclists are committed to keeping both themselves and drivers safe. If you are new to cycling, it may be a good idea to talk to fellow cyclists about the safest practice for riding.
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