5 common mistakes that every cyclist makes

Whether you’re new to the cycling scene or you’ve been around the block a few times and are a proud veteran on two wheels, it’s a fact of life that we all make mistakes sometimes. However, the difference between one mistake and another could be the difference between a serious injury or no injury at all.

In this article, we’ve put together some of the most common mistakes that almost every cyclist has made or still make in a bid to help you enjoy a smoother, safer ride for many years to come.

1. Braking in corners

One of the biggest mistakes relating to safety that many cyclists, particularly new cyclists make, is to brake when they are on a corner.

Breaking on the corner itself increases the chances of a cycling accident occurring as the rider has less control of the bike, should oncoming traffic take the corner wide and cross over onto the rider’s side of the road.

Breaking on the corner itself while banking on a corner can also lead to your bike locking up and you being thrown off the bike.

The safest and most efficient way to corner is to brake before the corner itself. Pulse the brakes gently, don’t squeeze them hard and fast as this will increase your chances of skidding. Brake gently enough so that you can take the corner at a reasonable but safe speed, and always remember to brake sooner than you normally would in wet conditions, particularly if you are using calliper brakes instead of disc brakes.

2. Saddle height

Riding your bike with your saddle at the wrong height can cause injury and potentially an accident. Not only will having the saddle at a height that doesn’t suit your body make you an inefficient cyclist, it can also cause you to lose balance on your bike, which could lead to both you and other cyclists and road users being involved in an accident.

To help you avoid a potential cycling accident, a good rule of thumb to help you make sure you have your saddle at the right height is to ensure that when your leg is at the bottom of the pedal stroke your leg is almost straight (don’t have it completely straight as this can cause a hamstring injury).

Wherever your bottom is when your leg is almost straight on the bike, is where your saddle height should be set.

3. Riding too far too soon

You’re feeling fresh and you’re excited to get out on your bike. Many cyclists have been caught up in the moment when they see the sun shining and see the chance to get a good few miles in on their favourite wheels.

While there’s nothing wrong with aiming high, you shouldn’t overdo it. If you’re a relatively inexperienced cyclist you may want to plan your route carefully before you head out and make sure it isn’t too far for you.

Not only does overdoing it mean you run the risk of injuring yourself, tiredness can also mean you put yourself at risk of being involved in an accident.

The same rules apply for cyclists as they do with drivers of cars and other vehicles. If you’re feeling tired it’s important you take a break. The more tired you are, the slower your reactions become and this can be dangerous when you are riding on the road.

Stay safe and live to ride another day, don’t overdo it.

4. Poor bike maintenance

Looking after your bike may sound like common sense, but there’s a difference between keeping your bike dry and making sure it actually works properly.

Whether it’s the fear of the embarrassment of having to be picked up by someone on the roadside after your bike fails or the fear of being involved in a cycling accident, you should make taking care of your bike a priority.

Ensure you perform regular tests on your brakes, these are most likely the part of the bike that could potentially save your life, whether it be to help you avoid vehicles or road surfaces that are laden with potholes.

Keeping your bike free from rust is also vital, not only for your bike’s performance but also from a safety aspect. Keeping your bike rust-free will make sure its structural integrity is kept and will afford you a level of safety that a poorly kept bike cannot.

To keep your bike in good working order, give it the once over after each ride and conduct a full check over at least once a month.

5. Unsuitable clothing

Loose and baggy clothing can cause a host of problems if you’re riding a bike, they can get caught as you ride potentially causing an accident, but certainly causing embarrassment, however, the biggest item of unsuitable clothing is actually a lack of a particular item.

That item is a helmet.

Although a helmet isn’t a legal requirement, one should always be worn. It’s not an underestimation to say that a helmet could save your life in the event you are thrown from your bike.

To afford yourself a higher level of protection you could invest in a full face helmet, however, general cycling helmets are better than no helmet at all.


Whilst we recognise that everyone makes mistakes from time to time, we hope that highlighting these 5 common mistakes that are made by cyclists will help you avoid making them in the future and that you will be a safer cyclist as a result.

However, if you are involved in a cycling accident then our team of specialist solicitors are on your side.

If you are involved in a cycling accident that was as a result of someone else’s negligence, our team will help you secure the compensation you deserve.

If you would like to start a free no-obligation enquiry for your bicycle accident case, please contact us either by phoning us on 01625 506 672 or by filling out our online enquiry form by clicking here.