Cycling has become more popular in recent years. With millions of people choosing to cycle, safety has become an important issue.
Cycling England’s Bikeability is a cycling proficiency scheme designed to help children and parents ride confidently and safely on today’s increasingly busy roads.
Thanks to cycling training schemes for adults and children, like Bikeability, the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on roads every year has decreased. In 2006 the number was 35% lower than the 1994–98 average.
You can reduce the risk of accidents by following the rules of the road, acting responsibly towards other road users and following these simple tips:
- Be visible
Make sure you’re visible to other road users and pedestrians. Keep away from the kerb, wear bright or fluorescent clothing in daylight or poor light, and reflective clothing at night. Always use lights after dark, in the rain or if the weather is overcast.
- Don’t cycle too close to the kerb
Give yourself space on the left and don't feel you have to cycle close to the kerb if a car behind you gets impatient. By moving further into the road you’ll avoid drain covers and roadside debris. You’ll also help drivers think more carefully about when it’s safe to pass you.
- Protect yourself
Always wear a helmet as this reduces the risk of head injury if you’re in an accident. To be effective, the helmet must be level on the head, with the pads inside touching all the way around and the strap comfortably snug.
- Make eye contact
Always be aware of who is around you. Make eye contact with drivers and let them know you’ve seen them. This will tell you if the driver has seen you or not, which is especially helpful before you make a manoeuvre.
- Make your intentions clear
Show drivers what you plan to do in plenty of time and when it’s safe to do so. Always look and signal before you start, stop or turn. Looking over your shoulder while indicating with one hand can be tricky at first, so practise this first when you're not on the road.
- Don't weave in and out of traffic or change direction suddenly without signalling.
- Use cycle routes, advanced stop lines, cycle boxes and toucan crossings unless at the time it is unsafe to do so. It is not compulsory to use these, and whether you do so will depend on your experience and skills, but they can make your journey safer.
- Give pedestrians priority at all times. Some may be partially sighted or deaf and may not be aware of your presence.
- Use your bell to inform other road users of your presence. Fit a bell or horn if your bicycle is not fitted with one.
It's against the law for cyclists to:
- Cycle through red lights, including lights at pedestrian crossings.
- Cycle on pavements, unless there's a sign showing that the pavement has been converted to a cycle track.
- Cycle the wrong way up a one-way street, unless there's a sign showing that cyclists can do so.
- Ride across pedestrian crossings, unless it's a toucan crossing with a sign saying that cyclists can do so.