As the world returns to its pre-pandemic state, more of us are transitioning from working from home to working from the office, meaning the morning commute has made a comeback. If cycling is your chosen method of travel, due to convenience or health benefits, here are our top 5 safety tips for cycling to work.
1) Legal requirements
According to the Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations, if cycling on public roads between the hours of sunset and sunrise, your bike must have lights, which are clean and working properly. Specifically, your bike must have:
- A white light at the front
- A red light at the rear
- A red reflector at the rear
- Amber pedal reflectors visible on the front and rear of each pedal.
The law specifically states that these lights be fixed to the bike, so to follow the law (and avoid any trouble), they must not be fixed to your helmet or clothing. However, there isn’t anything to stop you from wearing additional lights in this way. Moreover, the hours of sunset and sunrise are prescribed and change slightly every day. If you’re unsure, it’s best to cycle with your lights on, as it is not a viable defence to say that it wasn’t quite ‘dark’ enough outside. The legislation refers to “hours of darkness” which means the hours from half an hour after sunset to half an hour before sunrise. Moreover, there are some more technical requirements that your lights must adhere to, which can be found here.
The law states that a bike on a public road must have two “efficient” braking systems – one at the front and one at the rear that function independently from each other. If you have a fixed wheel bike, the fixed wheel is recognised as a braking system, but you would need to ensure that a braking system was also operating on the wheel that is not the fixed wheel to meet this requirement.
2) Wear a helmet and high visibility clothing
Whilst it is not a legal requirement to wear a helmet and high visibility clothing, it is strongly recommended that you do so. It is widely recognised that cyclists who were helmets are significantly less likely to die from, and have less severe injuries than those who have accidents without helmets. Buy a good quality helmet and wear it correctly at ALL times. Ensure it is properly fastened and adjusted to your head size. Similarly, wear high visibility clothing when cycling on the road to maximise your chances of being seen by motorists.
3) Brush up on your highway code
Most of us passed our driving test as teenagers, and if you’re new to road cycling, the chances are the rules for cyclists are a bit hazy in your mind. Familiarise yourself with the up to date highway code before attempting any journeys on your bike. Pay particular attention to the rules around filtering. In short, cyclists are allowed to make progress through traffic, but pay close attention if attempting to undertake stationary traffic, particularly long vehicles like buses and lorries, as you will be passing them in their blind spot.
4) Cycle with care and expect the unexpected
Research has shown that human error is the main contributing factor in collisions involving cyclists. Driver or rider error was cited as the main reason for collisions in 66% of all reported accidents in 2019. Moreover, junctions are the most dangerous spots for cyclists. Almost two thirds of cyclists killed or seriously injured are involved in collisions at, or near, a road junction. Therefore, take particular care around these areas and try to be as predictable as possible to other road users by picking a lane early, indicating well in advance and making sure to complete checks for cars before entering the flow of traffic or making turns.
5) If you’ve been involved in a cycling accident, get in touch with our personal injury solicitors today
Unfortunately, as a cyclist, you could take all the care in the world and still be involved in an accident. Car drivers are legally required to have insurance and it is from this that you can claim if you are involved in an accident that is not your fault. You may be entitled to claim compensation for an injury, any related costs and any property damage, including any damage to your bike.
At Ackroyd, we have a team of dedicated personal injury solicitors who understand that cycling accidents can be incredibly traumatic and cause lasting physical and mental damage. Get in touch with us today to discuss your unique claim on 0203 058 3365.