10 safety tips to make your commute by bike to work stress-free
In recent years, there has been a revolutionary number of commuters in Britain who have taken to the saddle in order to ride to work. According to 2018 Strava Year in Sport, the number of commuters in the UK and Ireland grew by 31%, compared to 2017, and in 2019, riders put down altogether 112.6 million km while commuting. The benefits of cycling to work are endless, however, there are additional precautions cyclists need to adhere to in order to make their commute as safe and stress-free as possible.
Whether you’re a cycling beginner or a long-time rider to work, why not refresh your memory with our Top 10 safety tips for commuting by bike.
1. Know the route
Traffic is far heavier and more congested in rush-hour, so ideally you’d like to practice your commute route prior to the day you ride to work for the first time. What you think might be a simple journey could actually turn out to be very stressful and not to mention dangerous if you’re completely new to it.
2. Appropriate clothing + lighting
Most cyclists can be guilty of thinking that they are far more visible than they actually are. With 15% of accidents occurring in the dark and low light conditions, it is important that you invest in lights for your bike as well as reflective clothing.
The cycling industry is awash with reflective gear and adoptions of smart technology which will ensure you’re seen on the roads. Also, although it’s not a legal requirement that you wear a helmet, it can save your life if you’re involved in an incident, so make sure you wear one.
3. Signal like you mean it
Signalling is imperative to commuting safely. Don’t assume that fellow road users know of your intentions just because of your positioning on the road. Signal like you meant it, and always remember to check over your shoulder early before changing position.
4. Ride with confidence (not cockiness)
You have as much right to be on the road as anyone. Knowing that will help your cycling, as you won’t be sticking to the kerb like glue where you run the risk of potholes, rubbish and grids which can cause serious injury. Ride with confidence, but remember to keep your wits about you, and don’t get cocky riding.
5. Roundabout control
Positioning and signalling is a key at roundabouts, to ensure that fellow road users can see you either on or when they’re approaching a roundabout. Always give way to the right, and take the appropriate lane as you approach the roundabout, ensuring that you check and signal early to notify all road users of your intentions.
6. Be patient
Don’t fall into the angry commuter category. Tensions can certainly run high on the roads in the morning, and for the majority of road users in rush hour, you’re all in the same boat of trying to get to your place of work on time. Be patient and forgiving to aggressive road users, and give thanks when kind gestures are given.
7. Know when to dismount
If you’re feeling tired or unsafe, or just if you know a shortcut to take, there is absolutely no shame in dismounting to walk. The key, however, is knowing where to dismount, as cycling over pavements and pedestrian crossings will do you no favours. It’s illegal and is also selfish to fellow road users and pedestrians.
8. Traffic light control
Don’t be tempted to jump red lights, as not only is it illegal, it’s also a very dangerous move indeed as you may get T-boned by somebody accelerating on an amber, or hit by another road user.
Be aware of your lane and ride with confidence so that drivers don’t squeeze past dangerously or attempt to left turn whilst you’re riding straight. If there is a cycling box available, wait there.
9. Overtaking to the right
Overtaking to the right is best for visibility. Filtering up the inside lane of traffic should only ever be done when traffic is completely stationary, and please be mindful of car doors opening and also pedestrians crossing.
Never go up the inside of a long vehicle which has a restricted view. This is highly dangerous!
10. Know the rules
As a road user, it is very important that you’re aware of the Highway Code. Give yourself a quick refresher of the rules which particularly relate to cycling, and enjoy getting to work through the power of your own legs.
David George, CEO + Founder of Bikmo said: “It is so encouraging and motivating to see how many people have opted to commute to work by bicycle in recent years. When considering the cost savings and health benefits, it’s not hard to see why. It’s very important to us however those cyclists take every precaution to ensure that their commute is as safe and stress-free as possible”.