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Safe, confident and considerate cycling

Below are some top tips to help you start cycling, return to cycling, or cycle more often.

Below are some top tips to help you start cycling, return to cycling, or cycle more often. If you haven’t cycled for a while then start with short journeys on quiet roads and build up your skills and confidence. And always make sure your bike is safe and roadworthy – but most of all enjoy the ride!

Cycle safely and confidently

  • Look‚ signal‚ manoeuvre – Before making any move on the road‚ look around and over your shoulder, then make a hand signal to let people know where you are going.
  • Eye contact – Look drivers, pedestrians, other cyclists in the eye‚ rather than just at their vehicle. That way, they will see you as a person too.
  • Keep away from the kerb – Try and ride at least 1 metre away from parked cars (to allow for doors opening), the gutter (which can be in a vehicle’s blind spot) or any other edge of the roadspace.
  • Take the lane – If there’s not enough space for a vehicle to overtake you safely‚ or you’re approaching a side street, ride in the middle of the lane to prevent vehicles passing you in that lane and turning across you. Try to communicate with any driver behind you with a quick look to let them know you know they are there and then let them pass when it is safe to do so.

Doing a short two hour cycle training session to improve bike handling skills is a great idea for all riders, not just people new to cycling. But these may not be available in your area currently – check with your local council.

If you have had cycle training and want to build up your confidence then LCC’s Cycle Buddies might be good for you [LINK to Cycle Buddies / in post grid at bottom]

Follow the rules

It’s a legal requirement to stop at red traffic lights as well as have reflectors and two bike lights at night (white on the front and red on the back). If you break these laws you are potentially putting yourself and others in danger, and can be fined. You should be familiar with the Highway Code. Riding your bike on the pavement is not allowed in the UK unless you see a sign allowing it [picture of sign?] . If you are cycling on a space shared with pedestrians‚ drop your pace and keep an eye out for people walking.

Cycling on the pavement is permitted where you see this sign

Make sure your bike is safe

You should make sure your bike is safe and roadworthy, especially if you have not used it for a while. Check your tyres are pumped up and your brakes work. Use an ‘M’ check to make sure your bike is working okay and do an ABC check daily before you set off.

Cycle safely around lorries

Be extra careful cycling near large lorries –most of the worst collisions involve these vehicles. Be extra aware of left turning lorries:

  • They do not always indicate
  • They often swing right before turning left
  • The gap between a lorry and the kerb will decrease or disappear as it turns
  • And lorry drivers often can’t see the left of or immediately in front of their cabs easily creating a risk zone for cyclists

 

Considerate cycling

Make sure you look out for pedestrians and other cyclists especially the young, old or disabled. In busy areas pedestrians may walk out without looking, so just slow down and be aware of other road users. Give everybody plenty of space and time to cross the road at crossings.

Further information