With a lot of you taking to your bikes for the first time or after a long hiatus tomorrow thanks to the imminent tube strike, we wanted to share with you our safety tips for cycling safely around London. Remember that the roads are going to busier than normal due to everyone taking buses, cars or bikes to work instead of their usual London Underground commute. Cyclists of all abilities need to be more aware and more considerate when the tension is high and the traffic is hectic on London's streets.
First thing's first: protect your noggin.
Although it's not the law in this country to cycle with a helmet, we think that taking to the saddle without one would be temping fate to the highest degree and is never ever worth it.
Learn the traffic rules
Just because you’re on a bike does not make you exempt from following the rules of the road. Not only will sticking to the rules make other vehicles respect you more, it also helps you to predict what other road users are doing too.
Don’t be in a rush
Better late than never is our philosophy on all things bike. Rushing when on a bike, whether it be running a red light or going that extra bit faster down that last bit of hill on the home run, makes you all the more likely to miss a hazard or collide with an unwitting pedestrian. Make sure you travel at a speed that allows you the time to react to whatever might come in your way.
Use your bell
Your bell is a great tool for warning unassuming pedestrians wandering aimlessly into your path or even for motorists who are taking liberties with the road space. Don’t be afraid to ring your bell if it’s necessary to avoid accidents.
Don’t get too close to the kerb
To be safe you should always be 50cm from the kerb, don’t let any greedy motor vehicles hog your space. Hold your ground and cycle with confidence. It will make you more visible and force drivers to overtake you in the correct manner.
Whether it’s wearing brightly coloured clothes, a brighter than white helmet or the full fluoro kit, make sure you’re as visible as possible to other road users. Even in broad daylight the brighter you bike the better. And it goes without saying never to leave the house without your bike lights.
Stay out of blindspots
One of the most common reasons for serious bike accidents is passing large vehicles on the left hand side at junctions. If the vehicle turns left they can’t see you and you’ve got no chance of getting out of the way once you and they are moving. It’s not worth the risk!
Positive and deliberate movements on the road ensure other road users know what you are doing and that no unpredicted mishaps occur.
Most importantly though, keep calm and carry on pedalling. It's the only way to beat the tube strike and arrive at your destination feeling energised and wholesome. Hopefully it will convert you to a full time London cyclist. We'll welcome you with open arms!