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As the clocks go forward bringing longer days and warmer weather, many of us are taking our trusty bicycles out of the shed and getting back in the saddle to get fitter and enjoy the great outdoors.
Cycling is essentially a safe activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. However, it is not without its risks and if it’s been a while since you got on your bike, it’s important to get some of the basics right.
Prepare your bike
If your bicycle has been a bit neglected over the winter, now is the time to give it a thorough service. Check your tyres are pumped up and your brakes are in good working order. Is the chain clean and lubricated? Wheels secure? Is your saddle fitted correctly? Are all the nuts, screws and bolts tightened? A maintenance check is vital for your cycling safety.
Wear a cycle helmet
Just because the weather is warm doesn’t mean you should leave your safety helmet at home. Cyclists have very little protection and if you’re involved in a cycling accident, head injuries can be catastrophic, resulting in permanent damage to the brain, and they can even be fatal. Wearing a helmet is the single most important thing you can do for cycling safely when riding your bike.
Choose your route carefully
Try to avoid main roads or very busy roads if you are not an experienced or confident cyclist or you have small children in your group. And cycle within your limitations – remember that a long cycle ride out means a long ride back.
One of the major causes of cycling accidents is drivers not noticing or seeing cyclists. Has your bike got working lights? If you’re cycling in the early morning, at dusk or at night, you still need a steady or flashing white light on the front and a steady or flashing red light on the back. Bright clothing and reflective tape on your bike will help increase your visibility.
Brush up on the new Highway Code rules
you may not be aware that the Highway Code changed in January. There is now a ‘hierarchy of road users’ and there are some new rules to follow. Cyclists must now give way to pedestrians on shared-use cycle tracks and advised to take care when overtaking pedestrians and horses by slowing down and alerting them with their bell. Cycling UK has a handy guide on the new Highway Code rules for cyclists.
It can be easy on a warm, sunny day to get complacent about potential hazards, but road awareness is vital when you’re cycling. This means looking out for potholes and large puddles (that can hide potholes), and looking ahead for parked vehicles, other road users, drain covers and uneven or rough road surfaces.
It can be easy to forget to take a drink on your bike ride, but dehydration can lead to fatigue, heat stroke, lapses in concentration, muscle cramps, and slower reaction times, which could result in an accident. Sunscreen too, is important to block out the sun’s harmful rays and reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Help with cycling accident claims
Our specialist personal injury team can help if you are unfortunately injured in a cycling accident that wasn’t your fault. Whether you were commuting to work on your bike, training, racing, or out for a leisurely cycle ride, we have the expertise and experience to help you make a cycling accident claim. Our aim is to secure you maximum compensation and access to rehabilitation so that, if possible, you can get back in the saddle.
We provide specialist cycling legal support nationwide across England and Wales. To book a free, no obligation chat with us, call 0800 884 0777, email email@example.com or complete our online enquiry form.