Last Updated: 05/05/2022
On a beautiful day what could be more perfect than a bike ride! With so many people going on bike rides during the pandemic, it’s become a popular hobby and a fun way to exercise. 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
As a cyclist it’s important to be road safe and follow the laws around cycling and the advice given by the Government on how to cycle safely.
Currently there are over 20 laws on cycling on the road, including laws for general regulations, road junctions, roundabouts and crossing the road. This includes information on light’s, cycle lanes, pavement safety, safe clothing, traffic lights, road positioning, junctions, turnings, and crossings.
In 2022 the new Highway Code was released which changes the hierarchy of the road, placing pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders above any vehicles. This gives them greater authority on the road minimising the risk on the road to those more vulnerable.
Have a read through what is and isn’t legal and what are the important rules to follow to make sure your safety knowledge is up to scratch.
Know Your Turn Signals
To Turn Left:
Extend your left arm out to the side well before you intend to turn. Slowly begin to break and then make your turn.
To Turn Right:
Extend your right arm out to the side well before you intend to turn. Slowly begin to break and stop if it is not safe to turn. Ensure that there is no oncoming traffic and safely take your turn.
Extend either arm downward in an upside down ‘L’ position and come to a stop. Ensure that there is sufficient time between when you make the signal and when you come to a stop.
Check Your Equipment
Ensure That Your Seat Is Adjusted to The Proper Height and Locked in Place
The very tops of your toes should be able to reach the ground whilst on the bike, but you should not be able to place both feet on the ground at the same time. If you can do this, then your bike seat is too low.
Check The Tyres Are Inflated
Your tyres should be fully rounded with no punctures or holes. You’ll be able to tell if your tyre has been punched from a wheezing sound that is made when the tyres are inflated or if your tyres seem to deflate very quickly.
Ensure You Have Installed Reflectors at The Front and Rear of Your Bike
This will increase your visibility which is especially important at night and dusk where there is very little light. For extra safety, you can install reflectors on the pedals and spokes. However, most new bikes come with reflectors on all 4 points.
Add A Horn or A Bell
If you ever are riding in car populated areas, install a horn or a bell to be able to make people aware of you. Much like a car horn, you can alert people to your presence if you have not been seen.
Make Sure Your Breaks Are Working
Perform a brake test before every journey to ensure that your breaks are working. Spin your front wheel to a reasonable speed and then grasp the breaks and measure how fast the wheel stops spinning. It should stop almost instantly, if not you might need to get your breaks check by a professional.
What Should I Wear When Riding a Bike?
Ultimately, your clothing should be both comfortable and practical which will keep you safe and increase your visibility to other road users.
Wear bright and fluorescent clothing to increase your visibility; this will keep you safe as drivers will be able to see you better which will decrease the chances of an accident. Try to avoid dark clothing, especially at night, but if you must, we recommend having a florescent jacket on hand to make sure you stay safe.
Don’t wear loose fitting trousers or long skirts. Wearing clothing that is loose fitting can increase the chances that it will get caught in the gears and chain of the bike causing an accident. We suggest wearing tighter fitting trousers such as jeans or leggings that would allow the best movement and minimise chances of getting caught.
Choose shoes that will grip the pedals. Shoes such as heels, sandals, flip flops, and cleated shoes will not give you sufficient grip on your bike pedals which could cause harm to you and other road users if you lose grip. Trainers are great for bike riding.
Wear A Helmet!
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 several reasons and can range in severity. In some cases, a helmet may help to prevent you getting a serious injury.
This seems like a straightforward point but surprisingly there are many things you must remember when either buying or wearing a helmet.
Make sure it fits snugly on your head by adjusting the sizing pads or fit ring. It should not wobble when you move your head
Position the helmet level on your head, it should be around about one to two fingers width above the eyebrow, so it sits covering the forehead and not tipped back
Adjust the side straps so they can form a V shape in either side of your ears with the buckle centred under your chin. The strap should be tight enough that only one or two fingers can fit between the chin and the strap
Ensure that it is well vented to stop you from overheating
Bell Avenue MIPS Road Helmet
£53 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 II ANGi MIPS Road Cycling Helmet
£199.99 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 Wavecel Road Bike Helmet
£134.99 from Trekbikes
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. Make sure to check the Sold Secure rating of the lock that you buy, to ensure you are giving your bike the best security.
Abus Granit X-Plus 540
£100 from Halfords
Sold Secure: Diamond
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. A 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
£88.99 from Bikeparts
Sold Secure: Gold
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 U-Lock Plus Cable
£33.99 from Tredz
Sold Secure: Gold
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.