London by Bike: Cycling safety tips
Seven safety tips for when riding your bike around London
Time Out's UK Lifestyle Editor Katie Dailey, author of 'Heels on Wheels', offers her top tips for riding safely around the capital. Feel free to leave further suggestions in the comments box.
Cycling safety tips
Stay aware of hazards
When cycling, generally keep left until you near a junction. But leave enough width between you and any parked cars for them to open their doors without hitting you.
Move to the middle at junctions
At junctions, move to the middle of the road, at the front of the cars, where you are clearly visible. Remember that larger vehicles, such as lorries, can’t see cyclists in their wing mirrors, so avoid positioning yourself at the left at a junction, as this is the most dangerous place to be when a vehicle is making a turn.
You’ll need to be able to hold your bike with one hand on the bars, while you signal with the other, and sometimes this can take a bit of practice. If you don’t signal, road users behind you (particularly motorcyclists) might be embarking on manoeuvres to overtake you.
It sounds obvious, but cyclists without lights and reflective clothing are invisible. It’s easy to carry Velcro bands in your bag, just in case you take a ride. You can quickly wrap these round your wrists and ankles, or over your bag straps, and they really increase your visibility to drivers.
Watch out for buses and taxis
Be very mindful of buses and taxis. Both have a tendency to pull into the road without much warning, so hang back when you approach one and watch their indicators to check their next move.
Use your wing mirrors
Consider your shoulders your wing mirrors. Good drivers check their mirrors before they do anything – and so should you. Before moving left or right, have a glance over your shoulder to see what’s happening behind you, keeping an eye out for fellow cyclists and motorcyclists.
Don't cycle under the influence
Cycling drunk is as bad as driving drunk. Safe cycling relies on the alertness and co-ordination of the driver – which can’t help but be compromised by alcohol. One of the most important things about knowing how to cycle, is knowing when not to cycle.