Now that spring is here, things should finally start to warm up, meaning more of us will want to get out and about. Whether you’re a new or seasoned cyclist, we have some top tips to keep you safe while you're getting some exercise.
It makes good sense to wear your helmet when riding on roads, pavements, or parks, but it’s important when you’re enjoying quiet spots in the countryside too. Helmets are often light-weight and comfortable and come in a variety of colours and sizes to suit your personal tastes – so there really isn't a reason not to wear one!
Make sure your helmet fits properly. It should sit level on your head, not tilted, and the front edge should be, at most, an inch above your eyebrows. When fastening the strap, there should be just enough room to get a finger between your chin and the strap.
Even when it’s light outside, it’s important to keep yourself visible to other cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists. Wear a high-vis jacket where appropriate and make sure you have lights that are in line with the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations. This means having a white front light, a red rear light, a red rear reflector, and amber pedal reflectors on the front and rear of both pedals.
If you’re going out for regular bike rides, it’s important to make sure your bike is as healthy as it can be. Check the wheels are properly inflated and there are no punctures, store your bike inside to prevent rust and weather damage, check your brakes are in proper working order and that the bike chain is appropriately lubricated.
When out, keep a small bike repair kit on your person in case you run into any issues.
Like with any form of exercise, you should keep yourself hydrated. Bring a bottle of water with you, and if you’re going on a longer journey, consider bringing two. Take regular sips and gulps to avoid becoming dehydrated during your outing, making sure you’re drinking before you get thirsty. If you are going on a long ride, you should bring a healthy snack too.
Travel first aid kits contain plenty of first aid such as plasters, bandages, antibacterial wipes, and gloves, so you’re prepared if you do have a minor accident. These kits are the perfect size for your bag or pocket and you never know when you might need one.
Even if you don’t plan on stopping, you should have your bike lock with you in case of emergencies or other unforeseen situations. Make sure you have a good quality lock and that your bike is correctly and safely secured.
Traffic Laws apply to cyclists too, not just motorists. Even with fewer cars on the road, it’s vital to abide by the traffic laws to keep yourself, pedestrians, and other road users safe. Not only does keeping to traffic laws save lives, but it can also save you a hefty fine if the police spot you flouting rules. Some rules are made to be broken but these aren’t - less traffic does not mean you get to be less vigilant. You can read up on traffic laws on the GOV.UK website.