Cycling safety: not to be taken lightly
It is essential to keep safety in mind when you start cycling. With experience, you learn how to recognise dangerous situations and to remain vigilant in all situations.
Roads are not solitary places, hence safety does not depend on cyclists only. Indeed, mutual respect between cyclists and other road users is equally important. That is why it is essential to share our space. Whether you’re a cyclist or a motorist, respect, vigilance, caution and patience are crucial for everyone's safety.
What safety equipment should you use?
As a cyclist, you should be aware of the different types of equipment required for safe cycling. Unlike a car, there is no passenger compartment to protect cyclists. Therefore cyclists need to be protected in other ways. Here is a list of indispensable equipment:
- A helmet is essential. If a cyclist were to fall without a helmet, the consequences could be irreversible. A helmet will protect your head from any injuries which may occur in the event of a fall.
- Cycling gloves are equally important. Wearing gloves helps prevent serious injuries to your hands in the event of a fall, and reduces the impact of vibration. Gloves also have a practical use: they give a better grip as they absorb sweat and they keep your hands warm in winter.
- Clothes give you extra visibility but also enable you to feel comfortable and at ease when exercising. Reflective clothing helps draw attention to your presence, not just at night but also during the day.
- Lights are also helpful, since clothes are not the only one that enables you to be visible. At night, biking without lights means you can only be seen by the reflection from your clothes which is not enough to be fully visible. Lights make it possible not just to see, but also to be seen.
What are our top five bicycle safety tips?
Riding a bike requires a lot of attention, so here are our experts’ tips for safe cycling:
- Always be visible: a bicycle is relatively small and silent, which makes riders more vulnerable when they are on the road. However, some cyclists dress in all black or in colours which are not easily perceptible and this can affect their safety. Without reflective materials, the lack of light at night makes cyclists practically invisible to other road users. This is why we must constantly remain visible by using the appropriate equipment.
- Indicate every change of direction: when cycling on roads, always indicate with your arm the direction you intend to take, so as to avoid surprising other road-users. You should also remember to check your immediate surroundings to ensure that no cars are obstructing your path and that you are not obstructing anyone else’s
- Take care going downhill: going faster downhill increases risks of having an accident. Whether it is from an obstacle in the road, or a pothole, or simply from pebbles, it could cause serious injury because of your speed.
- Keep your equipment and your bike in good condition: to be safe, you need to ensure that your bike is properly maintained. Pay particular attention to your brakes, your tires, your saddle and your transmission.
- Anticipate dangerous situations: riding carefully, looking around and far ahead, will enable you to anticipate and react quickly. It is also a good idea to keep all your senses alert. For example, wearing headphones and listen to music makes it difficult to hear noises from traffic