Improving Safety of Cycling


Many people, especially women, site safety as the biggest issue which puts them off cycling.

To some extent our safety cycling is at the mercy of other road users. Of course, there is always a hope the standard of driving will improve; e.g. government policies may make a difference. But, there’s not really much we can do about other road users. However, there are various things we can do to make cycling a safer activity. This is what I think makes a big difference to making cycling safer.

Always Expect the Unexpected.

Never anticipate other road users – cars and pedestrians will follow all the rules of the road.  Unexpected manoeuvres can be dangerous when for example a car is signalling left but keeps going straight. This is quite common, I’d rather wait to see their direction rather than relying only on their signal. So often when cycling along Cowley Road, car users will often pull out making you slow down and brake sharply. They are used to doing it to other cars; you really have to be very alert for unexpected manoeuvres

Be very wary of underpassing large vehicles.

Cycling on the inside of large vehicles buses, lorries e.t.c. is very dangerous. Even at stationary traffic lights it is important to make sure there is no chance the vehicle could start moving when you are out of sight from the driver.  Many fatalities are caused by this.

Paying Attention

A simple lapse of concentration can be fatal. This is probably the most important advice – to always be fully focused on the road and avoiding potential collisions. It becomes more difficult when you are racing or training hard because you have other focuses and  become tired. But, unfortunately, fatalities have occured in races / training because people weren’t looking where they were going. Not all accidents are the fault of motorists / road layouts. Often they due to the mistake / lack of focus of the person cycling.

Sometimes we suffer from myopia and tend to always blame others when actually the fault was our own. This is just human nature. I’ve seen cars do bad manoeuvres and shout at cyclists; but, I’ve also seen it the other way around too.

Be Seen.

I think visibility is important for cyclists. If you drive frequently you soon notice how some cyclists can be hard to pick out.

Confidence in Manoeuvres.

There are important manoeuvres like looking over your shoulder before moving to the right or left. Which need to be practised and always used. These can help improve cycling safety significantly.

Avoiding Overconfidence.

It is a balance to strike. If you are regular cyclist you can become overconfident and try difficult manoeuvres. For example turning right on a fast road or two lane road may require stopping and crossing the road like a pedestrian. I don’t like doing this as I’m impatient and don’t like walking my bike. But, there are certain roads where the danger of turning right can be very high. Even the best cyclists may have to take the slow way of turning right.

Avoiding Dangerous moves

You sometimes see the way someone cycles or drives and think they are an accident waiting to happen. Like riding through red lights at a busy junction. Riding onto a road without looking e.t.c.

Wearing Helmet.

I put wearing a helmet low down on list of priorities. There are many conflicting opinions on the benefits of helmets. But, from what I can gather they can help reduce the impact of some head injuries, especially when the accident is at low speed. But, it is a danger to see a helmet as a panacea for cycling safety. If you have a collision with a bus, what is a helmet going to do? It is better to not wear a helmet and cycle safely than to wear a helmet and ride recklessly. But, of course, you can have the best of both worlds so I usually wear a helmet.

And I don’t think wearing a helmet makes you ride more recklessly (that’s my experience anyway)

Live in Holland

It seems cycling safety varies alot from country to country. cycle rates by country


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

4 + 5 =