London is a busy place, bustling with tourists, commuters and locals. Often getting from A to B in London when driving in a car can be a nightmare, especially during rush hour, plus there is the congestion charge to worry about too. A bike can be a much easier, more economical way to get around, and it is also environmentally friendly! Although cycling can be quicker, you have to remember that it is still London – a city heaving with traffic and people for the most part. So how do you stay safe on your bike in London?
Firstly, take care when cycling on the road. London has plenty of cycle routes, so make sure that you use these! Cycle lanes are used only by bicycles. Although you may feel that this will automatically make you safer, be warned – not everyone is a good driver, and not everyone abides by the rules of the road. There have been cases of drivers taking quick shortcuts through cycle sections to avoid traffic. Always look left and right, and glance behind you at the upcoming traffic, to ensure that you are not involved in any sort of collision. Also, never undertake drivers on the left side. As we drive on the left, drivers should always look to their left to see if someone will overtake them; they may miss a cyclist driving up alongside them. Also, never overtake a moving vehicle!
Road-rage. We’ve all been there and experienced someone else’s at some point no doubt, and being in London is no different. If the driver behind your bike is getting impatient because you are cycling slower than his usual speed, do not panic! Panicking and rushing to swerve out of the way to allow an impatient driver to speed off will not only endanger you, but fellow drivers around you too. What happens if you swerved out of the way without thinking and collided with another car or some other obstacle? You have then managed to not only cause damage to your bike and perhaps yourself, but other people, and have now caused a traffic jam whilst help is sought. Do not listen to the angry abuse from road-rage-riddled drivers. Keep to a steady pace to keep safe.
Always wear a helmet. Helmets can save lives, and also avoid you having lasting damage to your head if you were to have a fall off of your bike. High visibility jackets, flashing bike lights and reflective panels will keep you visible, especially if you are cycling through London in the night. Unlike a car, you are much smaller and more vulnerable on a bike, so it can be harder to see a cyclist. Always make sure you are wearing visible, protective clothing to prevent any accidental collisions and severe damage should an accident occur.
A little unrelated, but when your bike is not in use in London, please ensure that it is locked up safely. Investing in a high quality bike lock could help to prevent your bike from being stolen.
If you are considering taking up cycling, you can use the UK’s free online listings Directory Now to find local cycle shops. These cycle shops will be able to find you a bike that best suits your needs. Just remember to keep the above points in mind when you are on the roads!