With the pandemic and lock down lasting over a year and all indoor venues being closed, lots of people have taken to cycling to get some exercise and get out of the house. While cycling has many benefits both physically and mentally, it’s important that you stay safe while riding your bike. We will go through what the law says about cycling, how to keep yourself and others safe, while also looking at how to keep your bike secure.
Cycling and the Law
The government offer the following advice and rules for cyclists:
You are advised to wear a cycle helmet at all times; it must conform to current regulations and must fit properly for it to be effective.
Wear clothes that are suitable for cycling- nothing that will get caught in the wheels or chain.
Avoid wearing dark clothing; light-coloured or fluorescent clothing is best as it helps other road users spot you.
Reflective clothing or accessories will help other road users see you in the dark.
The law states that your bike MUST have white front and red rear lights lit, when cycling at night. You also MUST have your bike fitted with a red rear reflector, as well as amber pedal reflectors, if your bike was made after 1985.
It’s not required by law but it is recommended that you install white front reflectors and spoke reflectors, to help you been seen. You are allowed to have flashing lights on your bike, but if you tend to cycle in areas with no streetlights, a light with a steady beam would be better for you.
You need to use cycle routes, advanced stop lines, cycle boxes and toucan crossings if it is safe to do so. It’s not the law that you must use these facilities, however if you are able, it is safer for everyone for you to use them.
Rule 62 is to do with cycle tracks. These are normally placed away from the road, but can be found alongside footpaths or pavements. These tracks are often used by pedestrians as well, unless they are specifically separated. If the track you are using is separated from a pedestrian path, then you MUST (by law) keep to the side that has been laid out for cyclists. Whether the track is separated or not, you need to be careful when passing pedestrians, always prepared to slow down or stop suddenly.
This rule is in regards to cycle lanes, you will know it’s a cycle lane as it will be marked by a white line, which could be broken, along a carriage way. If you are using a cycle lane, they should keep within the lane where possible. It is not compulsory for you to use a cycle lane, but they are designed for your safety and the safety of other road users.
One of the most important laws you must follow when cycling is that you MUST NOT cycle on the pavement.
To find out more about the specific laws around cycling then go to the Gov Website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/rules-for-cyclists-59-to-82
Best Cycle Helmets
A bike helmet is the best thing you can wear to protect yourself when cycling. You are not required by law to wear one, however there are many reasons why you should wear one. They will help protect your head and brain. The risk when cycling is that you may come off your bike, this can happen for a number of reasons and can range in severity. In some cases, a helmet may help to prevent you getting a serious injury.
We are going to go through some helmets you can buy.
Bell Avenue MIPS
£65 from Amazon
This helmet is easy to adjust and works very well. The helmet is made of polycarbonate and features 18 vents, which helps to keep your head cool, while cycling. It also features reflective strips on the outside, to help you be visible. It is slightly heavier than most helmets, weighing 310g, but is a good price and works well to protect you.
Specialized S-Works Evade with ANGi
£250 from Tredz
This helmet is super comfy and well ventilated; it also boasts a sleek, aerodynamic design. The ANGi technology is basically a posh crash sensor. It sits in the helmet and if it detects an impact that is powerful enough to incapacitate you, then it turns your mobile phone into a beacon. A countdown will start on the app and if you do not stop it before it reaches 0 then a designated emergency contact will be sent a message with your last know coordinates. This feature is great for those who cycle off road and in remote locations. It’s not the cheapest on the list, but you get what you pay for.
Bontrager Circuit MIPS
£100 from Amazon
This helmet is a good all rounder, suitable for on and off-road cyclists at any level of skill. It’s a neat, compact helmet that stands out from other with its distinctive shape. It’s well ventilated and boasts a Boa dial retention system.
These days, bikes are not cheap whether you have a road bike, mountain bike or a child’s bike, you want to protect it. You must lock your bike up whenever it is unattended, in public or even in a garage or outbuilding. We will go through what locks are best to keep your bikes secure.
Abus Granit X-Plus 540
Tweeks Cycles for £74.99, Sold Secure: Gold
The Abus Granit doesn’t have any frills or fancy features; it purely focuses on being the strongest lock out there. It has a super hard square shackle which reduces the effectiveness of any jaw cutting tool that might be used to break it. An added bonus is that even if a thief does manage to cut it, its square shape prevents it from being twisted and removed. This means a thief would have to cut it twice to remove it, this would take them more time and hopefully someone would notice what they were doing. It’s quite expensive, but not as expensive as buying a new bike if yours is stolen.
Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini
This D lock is a great lock for your bike, specifically designed for urban use. Kryptonite is so confident in their locks that if your bike is stolen while secured with their lock then they will give you £2,500 towards a new bike. It’s on the smaller side, but it uses this to its advantage, the narrow width makes the lock even tougher to break. It is also one of the heaviest locks on the market. This 18mm Gold standard U lock specs should reassure you of its durability and effectiveness.
Onguard Pitbull DT Shackle Bike Lock & Cable
If you are looking for a bike lock that’s not expensive, but still very secure, then look no further than this Onguard Pitbull. It has full Sold Secure rating, but is half the price of its competitors. It’s relatively light at 1.77kg and has a nifty light feature that will help you unlock it in the dark. The U bar is covered in a vinyl that protects your frame and wheels from scratches. Normally a lock with a cable extension would be on the pricey side, so to find this lock at £34.99 (from Tredz) is a great deal.
To find out more about cycling safety read our other blog https://www.keytek.co.uk/blog/the-guide-to-bike-safety/