Commuting by bike? – 5 top tips on cycle safety in London
Many patient have started commuting by bike as lockdown eases. This weeks blog on cycle safely in London has been inspired by this trending travel option.
Keep an eye out for more blogs in our cycling series, to learn more about cycle injury prevention.
Lets start with a few basic safety measures to help protect you on London’s roads.
1. Wear a helmet
When I was growing up helmet wearing was ‘not cool’, but on the road we always wore them. Since I started cycling in London 10 years ago I’ve never not worn a helmet. I actually think times have changed and it’s now ‘cool’ to wear a helmet!
2. Visible clothing
There’s some fancy cycling clothing out there but take a look next time a group of cyclist pass and notice who stands out. Often the trending dark colours really don’t. If you imagine you’re a car driver looking to turn or pull out, who are you more likely to see?
Bright colours, reflective sections and blocks of colour have been shown to be more visible to drivers than solid dark colours.
3. Remember blind spots for cars
Although many bike lanes run up the left side, remember cars turning left may not spot you. Try to stay aware of vehicles in front allowing them space to turn, without the risk of knocking you off your bike! And remember not every driver will indicate so expect the unexpected too!
If you need to overtake it can be better to do this on the right side of traffic. Drivers often check this mirror more naturally for overtaking vehicles. However, be really careful in case someone suddenly does a U-turn! This can be tricky to avoid as drivers can suddenly pull in front of you without any indication or warning.
Always stay aware of your environment, if you can see the driver through the back window, note their body language a change could mean they are about to pull away.
Good quality, bright, charged lights are a must, even in the summer. First you never know if you are going to get caught out in poorer light conditions or the weathers just a bit dull. I tend to always put my lights on flashing as I feel it again increases the chance of drivers noticing me.
Oh and if you park your bike outside take your lights with you otherwise unfortunately they may not be there when you get back.
5. Look over your shoulder – life saver look!
This is one of the best tips someone ever gave me. Believe me signalling is not always enough! Before pulling out to overtake a parked vehicle, bus, pothole etc always check what you’re about to pull into. You can’t assume the vehicles around you will allow you a safe space to move into so look and be prepared to STOP!