How to stay safe when cycling on the road
Many people are terrified of the idea of cycling on a busy road. Granted, taking your bike out onto the road for the first time can be a bit daunting for the uninitiated, but there is nothing to worry about as long as you pay attention to the rules of the road. Still not convinced? Here are some great tips here to help you overcome your fear of cycling on the street!
General bike maintenance
The importance of regular bike maintenance cannot be overstated and it is an often overlooked step when preparing to go cycling on the road. There is simply nothing worse than being stranded halfway through your route, with no means of repairing your bike. Incorporating standard pre-ride checks into your daily or weekly routine should be enough to assure you never end up in such a position. Of course, lower quality models will continue to be plagued with problems no matter what you do, so investing in quality such as a Giant road bike should be a priority.
Wear a helmet
There has been widespread debate over the effectiveness of cycling helmets but there is no disagreement over their ability to protect the wearer at lower speeds. Whether you stand in either camp, it is certainly a case of better safe than sorry. When fitted correctly, helmets can be even less of a hindrance than you could possibly imagine, making it a no-brainer to wear one.
Reflective rather than high visibility
Visibility when cycling at night should be a priority for cyclists. There has been somewhat of a revision in what actually makes cyclists most visible to motorists. It was assumed that high-visibility clothing would make you stand out the most, but more extensive research has revealed that reflective clothing is actually the most visible to drivers.
Location over size
Not only has cycling seen a recent move away from high-vis clothing in favour of reflective alternatives, it has also seen a change in where the high visibility areas were located on the body. Clothing manufacturers of the past opted for the largest high-vis surface possible, like a vest, but research has discovered that highlighting the most active parts of the cyclist actually made it easier for motorists to spot them. The circular motion generated by reflective knee and ankle pads caught the eye of drivers more easily than the seemingly stationary vest of the cyclist.
Be aware of your surroundings
Making sure that you stay attentive at all times is key to keeping safe. Unfortunately, not all car drivers will be as diligent as you with their turning signals and the most common collision cyclists experience is trying to undertake a vehicle that is turning left (whether signalling or not). Always give the car the chance to move off before you do, that way you will be able to clear them.