Top 10 tips for safe and enjoyable cycling

1. Get some cycle training 

If you feel unsure about how to cycle safely and enjoyably around the city, take advantage of a free training course. Camden Council offer free cycle training to boost your confidence and get you cycling safely. If you live in other areas of London, you can find out about other cycle training on offer through the TfL website

2. Be aware of large vehicles

Never cycle on the kerb side of any large vehicle at a junction – if you're in the driver's "blind spot", they won't be able to see you if they turn left. Always maintain enough distance behind or in front of any large vehicle so the driver can see you. If you can't see the mirrors, the driver probably can't see you. London Cycling Campaign has lots of useful information about cycling around large vehicles. 

3. Wear a helmet

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Cycling is actually much safer than you might think, especially if you observe a few simple techniques. And there is some debate in the cycling community about the relative benefits of wearing a helmet. That said, they do offer you some protection in case of a collision. For types of riding where there’s a significant risk of a crash that doesn't involve a motor vehicle (such as mountain biking) a helmet is definitely a good idea. But remember: if a helmet's going to be effective at all, it needs to be properly fitted and securely attached to your head, which means it should be level, covering your forehead, and the straps should be snug.

4. Know how to control your bike

Learn how to shift your body weight when making an emergency stop, be able to swerve safely, use your gears properly, control the bike while looking directly behind and confidently ride with one hand. On the road, ride with at least two of your fingers on your brake levers.

5. Know how to position yourself in traffic - stay away from parked cars

Ride away from the kerb, never in the gutter, and at least a car-door's width away from parked cars. Ride in the stream of traffic when you can match its speed. If you have to ride close to slower moving traffic or parked cars (for example on a narrow road), do so slowly so you have time to react to hazards (such as an opening door).

6. Be seen and heard

You should always make sure you can be seen on your bike. Eye-catching neon and reflective materials will do that in the day as well as at night. Lights are also essential if you’re going to cycling at night or in limited light conditions. Your lights have two functions; to make you visible, and to illuminate the road. You may be landed with a £50 fine for cycling without lights at night too. All new bikes are sold with a bell, and although it's not a legal requirement to have one, they're useful for alerting cyclists and pedestrians to your presence.

7. Ensure good road communication - learn to signal! 

Communicate your intentions with hand signals and correct road positioning. Don't signal without looking behind first – it may be unsafe.

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8. Know how to approach junctions

Arrive at junctions in the middle of your lane, whether you are turning left or right or going straight ahead. This prevents dangerous overtaking from traffic behind. At traffic lights the least safe option is to undertake (on the left), so either wait your turn or consider overtaking (on the right) to get to the front before pulling in to the stream of traffic when it starts moving.

9. Know how to approach roundabouts 

Arrive at, and move through, roundabouts in the middle of the most appropriate lane.

10. Ensure your bike is roadworthy

Regularly check your brakes and tyre pressure. Don't ignore any strange noises, vibrations, or jumping gears; they usually indicate a problem. Find out more about keeping your bike maintained

Page last modified on 06 may 14 15:41