Cyclists: Be Safe – Be Seen

Here are some useful tips and advice to improve your road safety and help drivers to see you more clearly this Autumn and Winter.

 

1. Lights and reflectors

By law, when it is dark or there is bad visibility you must have lights on your bike. At least one front lamp is required, showing a white light and one rear lamp, showing a red light. Make sure you carry spare lights or batteries just in case. Reflectors should be fixed to the rear of your bike and to the front and rear of each pedal. You can also install reflectors on the seatstays or fork blades, on rims between spokes, and even helmets and rucksacks.

For more information on lighting regulations visit the Cycling UK website

2. Reflective / high visibility clothing or accessories

Remember; fluorescent by day and reflective by night. This can be a jacket, waistcoat, rucksack cover or ankle bands etc. It’s surprising how effective just a few patches of reflective or high visibility can be so you don’t need a full reflective or high visibility outfit – but just ensure patches of your kit are.

3. Make eye contact and look around you

Always try to make eye contact with other road users to make sure you have been seen. Check what is happening around you at all times. Look well ahead for obstructions in the road, such as drains, potholes and parked vehicles, so you can anticipate your movements.

4. Keep clear of the kerb

Ride at least 0.75m away from the kerb. It’s safer to ride in the middle of your traffic lane (the primary position) if there’s not enough room for a car to overtake you.

5. Stay back and make your intentions clear

If you need to overtake a vehicle in a stationary queue, only do so on the righthand side and when it is clear the vehicle won’t suddenly begin to move. Only overtake when there is no oncoming traffic, move ahead of the vehicle and ensure you are visible to the driver. Large vehicles tend to move to the right before swinging into a left turn. Do not ride along their left side. Signal well in advance, and only manoeuvre when it’s safe. Stop signalling when you make your turn.

6. Avoid blind spots

Larger vehicles have blind spots in front of the cab, on both sides and behind the vehicle. Be aware of these and don’t ride or stop anywhere where the driver may not be able to see you.

7. Plan your journey

Your local council can help you plan your journey by providing maps showing dedicated paths and routes. Your council can also provide additional information on using cycle paths.

Staffordshire cycle map and journey planners

Stoke-on-Trent cycle map

8. Training

Bikeability is today’s cycle training programme. It’s about gaining practical skills and understanding how to cycle on today’s roads. Training courses are available throughout the year in every local authority in England. Find out more information and search for a training course near you on the Bikeability website.