As a driver, I come across a lot of cyclists. Luckily, where I live, there are many cycle paths, which keep them off the road, but it astounds me, how many cyclists don’t cycle safely, when on the road.
There are numerous cyclists who cycle too fast, overtake cars when it’s not safe to, don’t wear high vis clothing, don’t have lights on their bike, or God forbid, don’t wear helmets! This hugely increases the chances of an accident and is dangerous to both the cyclist and other road users.
A lot of people also don’t realise, that with the exception of dedicated cycle paths, it is illegal for an adult cyclist to cycle on the pavement.
Wearing the right clothing and protective gear, as well as having an adequately lit bike is SO very important, for ALL cyclists.
As a child I knew a boy who fell off his bike, without a helmet on and spent several days in a coma. That week every parent in the village, went out and bought all the necessary clothing and helmets for their children to cycle in.
I’ve also had a bad cycling accident myself before, through wearing the wrong clothing – and by that – I don’t mean dark clothing. I was cycling during the day, I had a helmet on and I thought my jeans were safe for cycling in. I was 13 years old and cycling on a road nicknamed “death row”, although I didn’t know it at the time. I had cycled many miles from home, with my friend. We weren’t where we should have been. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the hem of my jeans got caught in the pedal. The spinning pedal wound my jeans in, pulling my foot underneath the pedal and up against the wheel, causing the bike the stop suddenly and me to fly over the handle bars. I took all the skin off the heel of my left hand and my left hip bone, I very badly grazed my elbows and knees and I broke my arm. My friend managed to stop her bike, just inches from my head. My head hurt from the speed I plunged into the ground. I left a long line of skin on the road and there was blood everywhere. Thank God I was wearing a helmet, or I might not have lived to tell this tale.
I was very lucky that day, but it just goes to show, that “the right clothing”, doesn’t just mean high-vis (although I can’t iterate the importance of high-vis for cyclists enough). It’s important to wear trousers that aren’t too baggy or too long – or else wear ankle clips, to keep the hems out the way. Skirts and dresses are no good, as they flap about in the way.
Tips for parents, when your children are out cycling…
1. Make sure they know where they are allowed, and where they are not.
2. Make sure they have a mobile phone (with credit and battery) and a drink with them.
3. Make sure they have all the necessary protective gear – high-vis clothing, helmet, adequate lights pointing the right way, clothing which won’t obstruct any part of the bike.
I want to share with you this infographic from Osbornes solicitors all about cycling accidents and cycling safety…