Road skills

Credit: Alix Stredwick Credit: Alix Stredwick

Cycling is a safe and enjoyable way of travelling around London. It does however require care and paying close attention to other road users.

New cyclists are sometimes understandably nervous of traffic. However, by following a few basic rules, cyclists can ride safely in busy traffic.

It is important that you and your bike are visible to motorists and pedestrians. In daylight, it is best to wear bright clothes. Many cyclists wear bright jackets with reflective strips or wear a reflective Sam Browne belt. Bright covers for rucksacks are also popular.

At night, ensure you have working lights. Reflective strips can be stuck on to your bicycle to improve your visibility. It is also recommended that you choose a jacket, rucksack cover or panniers with reflective strips.

Fit a bell to your bike – and don’t be afraid of using it.

When cycling in traffic, ensure you leave enough space between your bike and the pavement, or your bike and a row of parked cars. The door of a parked car opening is a common cause of accidents, so make sure you leave enough space.

Take particular care at junctions. Lorries can sometimes not see cyclists and you should be particularly cautious at junctions. Ensure you can be clearly seen at the head of the line of traffic at busy junctions. There is often a space designated specifically for cyclists at a traffic light junction, known as the advanced stop line. Use it. Do not wait alongside vehicles at traffic lights which may be turning left.

Ensure that you cycle in an assured and predictable manner, complying with the rules of the road. Always check behind you when changing lanes in traffic or when turning left or right and use hand signals when appropriate.

Cycling training improves road skills. Follow the link on the left for more information on cycle training, or find out more about "Cycle Sense".

Further reading: Cyclecraft by John Franklin. Published by Stationery Office books.