Cycling in a large city takes some getting used to, and the more you do it, the more you’ll start to recognise certain offenders breaking codes of urban cycling etiquette. If you’re nervous or unsure about cycling in the city, don’t worry, your confidence will come with experience. Here’s a list of ten things to avoid to make sure you stay safe and out of the firing line from other road users.
Jumping red lights
For the 10 seconds this will save you, I honestly wouldn’t bother. Traffic lights serve a purpose and cyclists are not exempt from the rule. Wait your turn, avoid mowing down a pedestrian and go when it’s green. Don’t give cars even more reason to kick off at cyclists.
Try and be consistent with your movement and cycle in a straight line and not a crazy zigzag. Always signal to let people know what you’re up to and don’t make a rash decision to leap across the road if you’ve missed your right-hand turn (in in the UK).
Taking a phone call
Weird that I feel the need to mention this but the amount of times I’ve seen people having a full blown natter whilst also trying to work out a busy junction. IT.CAN.WAIT! Headphones are also not advised as you’re less likely to hear important warnings, and will be generally less observant. Best to put the technology away completely for 30 minutes or so.
Sneaking up on vehicles
One of the most dangerous things you can do is try and beat a vehicle to a turn. If you turn at the same time you will be in a very hairy situation between the vehicle who most likely hasn’t seen you and the pavement. Just wait a bit, let them turn and then go yourself on a clear signal. If the turn is just after the traffic lights, still well at the front of the traffic at a red light so that everyone can see you are there.
Riding on the pavement
When I am off the bike in the role of the pedestrian, it infuriates me to see cyclists riding along the pavement, barging you out of the way when there is a perfectly good road running alongside. It won’t be long before you are asked to leave anyway unless there is a cycle lane within the pavement.
Going hands free
Whilst it’s very impressive, hands free cycling does not belong on a busy road. No one is going to think you’re cool when you fail to break and go careering into a car door. Two hands unless signalling.
Wearing your Sunday best
Unfortunately, cities are grimy, there is pollution, you will get splashed by puddle water and will most likely get a slick of oil on your calf. If commuting it’s best to take a change of clothes or wear something that will hide the urban dirt.