Top tips for cycling safely in traffic

In today’s world, there are more vehicles on the road than ever before. In the UK alone there are over 36.7 million registered vehicles. Traffic jams within cities are becoming more frequent as vehicle numbers rise and this can pose serious safety issues for those who use two wheels to travel.

If you are a cyclist, then taking to the roads can be a daunting prospect when you are surrounded by cars and lorries. In this article, we’ll share our top tips to help you stay safe and hopefully avoid a cycling accident in the future.

No kerb crawling

If you’re on a bike you have just as much right to be on the road as every other vehicle. Of course, you should give way (if safe to do so) to quicker vehicles that may be near you, but by no means should you hug the pavement as you ride.

In fact, doing so could potentially prove more dangerous than you might think.

By staying away from the kerb, you make yourself stand out more to other road users, and means you avoid any gutters or drains that could give you a puncture, or even cause you to crash.

You will also have more space to your left should you need to get out of the way of traffic quickly, or you need to dodge that pothole that was hiding under a puddle on the road.

Whilst riding further into the middle of the road may make you more unpopular with other road users, it is worth doing if you want to avoid a cycling accident during busy traffic periods. By taking more space up in the lane, you are discouraging drivers from trying to squeeze past you, instead, they will try to pass you when it is safer to do so.

Learn to anticipate everything

It sounds easier than it is, after all, you can’t control what everyone around you does. Learning to increase your awareness and anticipate potential hazards will go a long way in helping you stay safe whilst you’re cycling in traffic. Keep an eye out for pedestrians as well as cars, especially those with children or pets which can be prone to sudden dashes into the road.

Try to take note of everything that is going on around you and preempt anything that could cause you or anyone else to suffer an injury.

Let people know what you’re doing

We’ve all seen a cyclist speed through a red light at some point, or suddenly turn off without warning or signal.

This is a big no-no.

If you’re using the road, you should act like any other road user and adhere to the laws of the road and signal whenever you are turning.

Of course, there will always be an occasion when you have to swerve suddenly, but where possible you should make gradual movements on the road and try not to make any manoeuvres without signalling your intentions to other road users first.

Take special care around lorries

Lorries turning left are a serious risk to cyclists. Many lorries have blind spots because of their size, which means that if you’re cycling on their left when they turn the driver may have a hard time spotting you.

Make sure you take care when approaching the rear of lorries and if you can, try to avoid trying to overtake them. You should also never assume that the lorry driver has seen you, even if you are in front of them.

Don’t get car-doored

Similarly to the tip we shared relating to staying away from the kerb, you should likewise give stationary cars a wide berth. If you don’t you run the risk of getting floored by a door that has negligently been opened.

When you approach a parked car, check behind you first to make sure it is safe, then move out into the road away from the parked car. You should try to move out into the road by at least one car door length just in case the door is flung open and you’re left eating asphalt.

Efforts are being made to educate car drivers and passenger, with the dutch-technique being mooted by some cycling safety organisations, but as yet it is not obligatory for car users to use the technique.

If you are struck by a car door that has been opened negligently, then get in touch with our team of specialist cycling solicitors today to find out how we can help.

Stay bright

The final tip on our list is to always have lights ready to go on your bike.

Those commuting at night will most likely have them installed already, however it is always worth having your lights on during the day too. The more visible you are to other road users, the less likely you are to experience a cycling accident.

If you haven’t invested in your own set of lights yet, we’ve put together a the ultimate guide to which lights you should buy that are available right now.

What to do should the worst happen

Sometimes you can do everything right when riding in traffic, and an accident can still occur.

If you’ve been a victim of a cycling accident and you believe the accident wasn’t your fault, we are here for you.

Our dedicated team of cycling solicitors are specialists in ensuring you get the compensation you deserve, including loss of earnings, damages as well as any expenses such as travel costs or repair costs for your bike.

We offer a free case assessment, so if you would like to discuss your case with a member of our team, call us today on 01625 506 672 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of our team will get back to you at a more suitable time.