Step 4 – Stay Safe on the Bike

 

As with any sport there are inherent dangers and risks and it is up to each cyclist to ensure they do as much as possible to stay safe on the roads. In most cases common sense and an awareness of your surroundings will have you enjoying your ride without any incident but I have put together a few pointers for you to keep in mind.

It goes without saying but let’s say it anyway. “Obey the Law”, even though you might think that some cycling and road laws are stupid they are there to protect you.

In general most authorities advise that cyclists ride 30cm to 50cm from the edge of the sidewalk as this keeps you out of traffic but far away enough from the sidewalk edge to ride safely. Most countries cycling laws also indicate that cyclists should ride single file but there are however countries that allow for cyclists to ride two abreast so it is worthwhile to check the local laws.

Never ride into oncoming traffic, many cyclists are tempted to do this but it is extremely dangerous and is the surest way to have an accident.road bike lane

As you spend more time on the bike and ride in larger groups you are sure to hear someone shout “hold your line”. What this refers to is the natural course that you should be taking on a corner or bend while going around it. Always ride in a predictable manner with no sudden or unexpected movements.

There are a series of hand gestures which cyclists can use to indicate what their intended actions are to both traffic and also to fellow cyclists. Basic hand signals gesturing to the left or right indicate the direction that you intend turning. A flat hand pointing backwards will show those behind you your intention to slow down and stop.

Potholes and objects in the roads can be dangerous and if you are riding in a group it is often difficult to see what is coming up. Cyclists often slap their thigh to get the attention of the rider behind and then point to the side where the hazard lies.

In many cases it is also a great idea to verbally let your fellow riders know what is happening, so if there is a hole or object in the road then just give a loud call of “HOLE LEFT” or “STONE RIGHT” and it will be appreciated.

Always try to be as visible as possible to other cyclists and traffic. Using a small red flashing light on the back of your bike even in normal daylight is a great idea, these flashing lights will catch the attention of any traffic approaching from behind. Riding in low light conditions calls for both front and rear lights and today’s LED technology provides us with cheap but highly effective lighting solutions.

Bright colored clothing also helps attract the right kind of attention as dark clothing can often blend in with the road and city landscapes.

Plan your route ahead of time and let someone know where you are riding, this way if there is an emergency there is always reference to where you might be.

Taking the correct kit and gear with you is very important so check the weather for your intended route ahead of time and prepare appropriately.

Use common sense to plan your ride, if you have never ridden more than 50km it wouldn’t be advisable to head out on a hard 100km ride. You need to be sensible about your riding in order to avoid injury.

These are just a few pointers to help you along the way to a safe ride and most importantly remember to have some fun along the way.

Enjoy the ride.

Step 3 – Get the Basic Equipment
Step 5 – Get a Proper Setup Done

12 Responses to “Step 4 – Stay Safe on the Bike”

  1. Germain G.

    Oct 31. 2014

    Take a phone with you, best safety equipment ever.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Austin Moua

    Nov 02. 2014

    It’s not always possible but it’s a good idea to ride with someone else if you can.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Emelyne P

    Nov 03. 2014

    I use a flashing LED on my bike and on the rear of my helmet in both low light and daylight conditions.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Sheridan O.

    Nov 15. 2014

    It’s always nice to pick up some tips for riding and safety, definitely helpful.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Mark P

    Nov 25. 2014

    I like to recommend that cyclists don’t wear earphones for music, it’s always better to be aware of what is happening around you and this awareness is often sound based.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Giovanni Jackson

    Jan 27. 2015

    As Tim says, “hold your line”, if you do so you will ride predictably and not have problems with riders around you.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Steven

    May 05. 2015

    Excuse my ignorance but why is it such a bad idea to ride into oncoming traffic, surely this will make you more aware of things approaching you?

    Reply to this comment
    • Tim

      Aug 13. 2015

      Not really, two objects moving towards each other at speed meet each other at unpredictably. If you are both traveling in the same direction then it becomes slower and more predictable. Turning and crossing roads becomes highly hazardous as drivers and other rider will be turning into and not expect you to be there. Plain and simple just don’t do it.

      Reply to this comment
  8. ezri

    Jun 07. 2015

    Sometimes we are our own worst enemies on the roads, if you use a little common sense and obey the laws your ride will be much safer.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Audre T

    Jul 11. 2015

    Just bought a bike and had no clue there was so much “etiquette” involved, thanks for the information.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Esther W

    Aug 07. 2015

    Going through all the articles and comments it is nice to see the sport growing like this, keep the rubber side down.

    Reply to this comment

Leave a Reply to Steven