Top Safety Tips for Your First Urban Ride

There is no question that the Olympics has inspired thousands to get active and start cycling. 

But what if you live in a built up area such as London or Manchester where cycling accidents are waiting to happen around every corner? How do you prepare yourself to tackle these brutal riding conditions?

We’ve gathered together some tips below to make your first journey a little less daunting!

1. Stay away form the curb

One of the easiest mistakes to make when you start riding on busy roads or streets is that you want to hug to curb as this seems like the safest way of riding. Our advice is to adopt a position slightly further in than that. This ensures a couple of important things, mainly that cars will only be able to over take where there is a safe distance to do so. If you are too close to the curb they are likely to try and squeeze past, and that could result in an accident.

There is no question that the Olympics has inspired thousands to get active and start cycling. 

But what if you live in a built up area such as London or Manchester where cycling accidents are waiting to happen around every corner? How do you prepare yourself to tackle these brutal riding conditions?

We’ve gathered together some tips below to make your first journey a little less daunting!

1. Stay away form the curb

One of the easiest mistakes to make when you start riding on busy roads or streets is that you want to hug to curb as this seems like the safest way of riding. Our advice is to adopt a position slightly further in than that. This ensures a couple of important things, mainly that cars will only be able to over take where there is a safe distance to do so. If you are too close to the curb they are likely to try and squeeze past, and that could result in an accident.

2. Be Visible 

It may not be chic to ride with reflective gear but when its a matter of life and death does it really matter what you look like when you are riding? Reflective gear is readily available and recently plenty of fashionable bike companies have brought out clothing with them build in. Staying visible is good practice for staying safe on the roads. 

cycling in london

An example of a busy urban road in London.

3. Anticipate The Unexpected 

Trucks and cars can be very unpredictable, so expect the unexpected. Take extra care at accident blackspots such as junctions and sharp corners where events will unfold quickly. 

4. Plan your Routes 

Planning your route before you set off is a good way of ensuring that you will have a safe ride. Take a look on Google maps and analyse the places that are likely to be dangerous. See if you can avoid them or see if there is anything you can do to make them less dangerous when you are out on your bike. 

5. Practice Clear Hand Signals

If you’ve never ridden in an urban environment before then you may not appreciate the volume of traffic around you. All of the vehicles around you need to understand where you are going to be riding, so make sure you can comfortably ride with only your left hand or your right hand on the handle bars before you set off on your first journey. this ensures that you will be comfortable making clear hand signals to other road users. 

6. Regularly glance at the vehicle behind you

Remember that urban places are very dynamic places so the traffic can change quickly. Having a good knowledge of what is around you on the road is a good step towards avoiding cycling accidents so take a glance over your shoulder every 5 – 10 seconds so you understand what is around you. 

That’s all for now. If you have any more tips please send us a Tweet and we will gladly add it to the article! @cycleassistuk.