Of course, cycling is our favourite recreation, but we can’t always think about the best parts of getting out on your bike. This month we are focusing on the more serious subject of how to ‘Stay Safe Cycling’. Road cycling comes with many challenges, from battling with traffic or preparing for the weather to bike maintenance and safety clothing. In this article we provide you with a quick helpful guide to staying safe on the roads.
According to UK government statistics, over 100 cyclists were killed in 2016 and almost 3,400 seriously injured. Cyclists are 15 times more likely to be killed than drivers on UK roads. Department for Transport (2017, 28th September) Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain 206 annual report ’https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/648081/rrcgb2016-01.pdf’ We really want to help make our customers aware and give helpful tips to keep you safe! These statistics really highlight the importance of road safety for cyclists.
The first thing to be aware, of is that some road users are simply not looking for cyclists. There are 3 really important things you can do to help you to get noticed on the road, the first and most important is both front and back lights! Front lights should be used for two reasons, to help you see in the dark and to help you to be seen during the day. We understand that you don’t want to sacrifice on weight, but lights really are essential for safety. Not only do you need to be seen but ideally you want to be heard as well. Having a bell will certainly make pedestrians aware of your presence but can also be used to make other road cyclists aware of upcoming hazards. Last but not least, wearing bright clothing and accessories is a great way to get you noticed. High- vis and reflective clothing is definitely the best way to do this.
Secondly, it is so important to keep up to date with regular maintenance and checks on your bike. We know that, as keen cyclists, we love to keep our bikes looking great, but don’t forget to check your bike for safety reasons too. It's great if you have the skills to maintain your bike yourself, but don’t be afraid to get it checked over by the professionals, even if it costs, its not worth the risk. A few things in particular to look out for:
- Are your nuts and bolts are tight? – make sure you don’t have any rattles!
- Regularly check and pump up your tyres – they should be within the correct PSI thresholds.
- Check your wheels are spinning true – be sure that your spokes are tensioned correctly, if in doubt ask your local bike shop to take a look.
- Regularly check your brakes are working effectively, make sure that your brakes are properly positioned, that the cables are working as they should and that your brake pads are not worn down.
You should aim to get your bike checked over every few months, even if you feel that everything seems fine, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Maintaining good cycling habits might sound obvious, but it’s surprising how many cyclists you see on the road who form bad habits when you look for them. It’s the simple things that really count, like being aware of your surroundings. There are many factors that come into play here, from not cycling with headphones on, to staying within your speed comfort zone. We know that often when training for events or trying to beat your personal best, it's tempting to really push those boundaries, but make sure you are confident with your speed and surroundings before testing your limits.
One of the most important cycling habits to sustain is good road positioning. Keep yourself approximately 0.5m away from the kerb, this will help you to avoid drains and debris in the road. Always look first, then signal to show drivers what you plan to do and make eye contact where possible so you know drivers have seen you. Wherever possible don't ride up the inside of large vehicles, they often find it difficult to see you. Wherever you are keeping up with the pace of the traffic, it is advised to 'take the lane'. This means positioning yourself in the centre of your lane which will help to provide you with plenty of space and discourage any drivers from doing anything silly, particularly when making a turn or approaching upcoming roundabouts or traffic lights. Most importantly, give yourself time when changing position in the road; try not to make sudden changes, giving drivers time to understand what you intend to do.
The most important item you can buy to keep you safe is a good helmet. There are a vast number of different styles and brands of helmet out there, so you should never need to compromise on comfort. The other main issue with helmets is added weight. At ZUUS we sell a Feather Helmet which is only 179 gms! Furthermore it is perfectly shaped for aerodynamics and won't hinder your speed. You can buy it this month for just £29.99 at http://www.zuus.co.uk/zuus-feather-helmet-only-179-gms-super-clearance/.
Loose fitting clothing is never a good idea when it comes to cycling, there are countless brands of cycling gear out there which is designed for comfort and for practicality. If you love to be a part of the ZUUS family as much as we do, take a look at our ZUUS team clothing here http://www.zuus.co.uk/zuus-team-clothing/
When looking at the stats, it really is undeniable the importance of safety whilst cycling. Accidents and injuries really take the shine out of what is such an enjoyable past time and the best way to stay safe is by being aware and being prepared. So, to sum up, always make sure you are able to be seen, don’t put off your bicycle maintenance, use common sense and always practice safe cycling habits and wear the correct protective clothing. Most importantly enjoy it!
We would love to hear from you, send us your tips and advice on how you stay safe or examples of how you might have been caught out! Send in your photos and thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org