When I drive to work each morning, there are always loads of cyclists dashing towards the city centre.
I always think it’s a great way to save money on travel and keep fit. Apart from when it’s chucking it down with rain. Then I think NO THANKS and I’m thankful to be in the comfort of my own car.
But as Spring approaches, it seems more and more like a good idea. I remember first seeing a Brompton bike on a series of Channel 4 documentaries. Not a documentary about the bike itself, but a series of shows by Dawn Porter. She used the fold-up Brompton bike to travel to meet experts to interview and I always thought they were a fab way to travel around.
Then there are the old fashioned bikes with a basket on the front. I imagine myself riding through the city centre with a dress and straw hat on. Both options seem much more comfortable than my road bike!
Regardless of what bike you use, it’s important to be safe when cycling in busy areas. I much prefer to cycle on the country lanes of Yorkshire than in the city because traffic lights, roundabouts and busy junctions are both frustrating and scary. Sadly, a cyclist died not far from me a few months ago while being hit at a junction on his bike – one positive thing about this is that Leeds are now improving their cycle paths around this area.
Anyway, if you are thinking of doing some city cycling – please take into account these tips to stay safe!
Assume car doors will open.
When riding past stationary cars, leave enough room so that if the door was to open, you won’t get tagged.
Stop on amber.
Don’t risk running a red light, if someone on the other side is doing the same in a car, you won’t stand a chance.
If you can’t see their mirrors, they can’t see you.
This is a common sticker on the back of lorries but remember this! If you can’t see a driver’s mirrors then they can’t see you but be extra careful and leave plenty of space.
Take centre stage.
There are times that you should move to the centre of the road rather than keeping to the left-hand side – especially at junctions where you want to go straight ahead or right. You don’t want to risk not being seen or getting hit as a car turns left.
Don’t rely on others.
If you’re cycling in a group, don’t just follow without looking. Ensure there is enough space for you to pull out of junctions, traffic lights etc.
Pick the safest route.
Although the safest route might not always be the quickest, always put your safety first. If there is a safer way to your destination, then go for it!