A helmet and a bike

5 Top Tips For Safer Cycling: Expert Advice

Intro

I've been a serious cyclist for more than 30 years and, up until now, have never been involved in a cycling accident; touching wood and fingers crossed as I write this.


But in all seriousness, I regard myself to be very lucky, especially considering that riding can be a scary experience. Whether you're an avid road cyclist like me or an experienced bike commuter, riding on the road is no picnic; you always need to be paying attention.


Safety is a genuine concern, but there are several things that you can do to help mitigate and reduce the chance of being involved in an accident. Cycling is one of the best sports for general fitness. Any person of any age and fitness level can ride a bike, and unlike other sports like running, you don't need to be in peak physical condition to start.


So in this article, I will provide you with the 5 top tips that I've used in my 30 years of experience to stay safe out on the road. You'll be familiar with some of these tips, and others you won't, but one thing is for sure; they're all common sense strategies and easy to implement.


Let's get started!

Daytime Running Lights

Lights on the back of a bicycle

Although this tip is the most blatantly obvious, I'm absolutely amazed at just how many cyclists I see, or should I say, don't see, with lights on their bikes. Folks, you should never ever leave home without front and rear lights on your bike. 


It doesn't matter what time of the day I head out for a ride; I always have my lights on. Yes, even flashing in the middle of a bright sunny day. In my opinion, purchasing a set of high-quality LED running lights is non-negotiable. Most LED lights have extremely long battery lives, so you don't have to worry about having them run out during your ride.


I'll repeat it again; having lights on your bike is the number one safety tip I can give. So to all my fellow cyclists, please don't leave home without them; trust me, your loved ones will thank you for it.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Planning your ride entails much more than your route and fuelling strategies; in fact, most cyclists don't plan at all; they simply jump on their bikes and hope for the best; which is probably not the greatest strategy.


Ensuring you have essential gear like your iPhone, a puncture kit, and a multi-tool are just a few of the items you should always take on any bike ride, regardless of the duration. A charging case for your iPhone is a must because the last thing you want to happen is to have no battery on your cell phone, especially in an emergency. Don't just purchase any charging case, though; make sure you choose an iPhone compatible charging case to keep your battery topped up.


Riding smart and planning effectively also means making sure you choose times of the day that avoid peak-hour traffic. Most people ride on the weekends because of work commitments; unfortunately, the weekends are some of the busiest times on the roads, not just for cars but cyclists too. 


Try waking up early and heading out on a ride before you start work; it's a great way to start the day, and I've found I've been much more productive throughout the rest of the day.

Stay Seen 

If you're like me, you've probably got plenty of friends in your riding groups who are decked out in all the latest stylish and expensive kit; unfortunately, though, it's black.


Black is literally the worst color you can wear when riding on the road, and just like the tip above, I'm also amazed at just how many cyclists continue with this trend. If you're racing on a closed circuit, then black or any color for that matter makes sense, but when you're main priority is to be "seen" and "visible," then black should be your last option. 


Now I must admit I generally like to wear black or navy blue cycling shorts; however, I always make sure my helmet, shoes, socks, and jersey are white. 

Remaining Vigilant And Aware

Remaining consistently vigilant and attentive should be a "no-brainer" each and every time you head out. On every ride, keep your eyes ahead and make sure you're constantly scanning for any potentially dangerous situations. 


I see many cyclists wearing earphones to listen to music, and I must admit I'm not a big fan of it. Listening to music means you're unable to hear cars coming up from behind you, and to be honest, depending on where you ride, listening to music on your bike might be unlawful.


If you want to wear earphones, try using only one ear; this way, you can listen to your music and still hear any cars coming up behind you. 

Car Doors Are Not Your Friend

In all my 30 years of riding, I've never had someone open their car door on me; granted, I've had a few close calls, but I've escaped any harm to date. Unfortunately, I have seen a friend of mine slam straight into an open car door; it was a sickening accident and one that left him with a broken wrist.


Since then, I always remain vigilant and ensure that I keep my eyes peeled and, more importantly, ride "outside" of the door-zone. One factor you have to be aware of is that it's not just the driver's side door you need to watch out for. Uber's and taxis are notorious for opening their passenger doors without looking for cyclists, so make sure you stay alert. 

That’s A Wrap

Riding on the road can be dangerous, but that doesn't mean you should stay at home and become a hermit. By remaining vigilant and ensuring you have LED lights and some colorful clothing, you can stay safe while out on your bike. 


Keep clear of the "door-zone" while on the bike and plan to ride at times that are less busy. Remember, safety is your number one priority every time you ride, so stay seen and stay attentive.


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