Road safety for cyclists

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 November, 2011, 12:00am


Before you sneak in a final cycling day before winter, it's important to arm yourself with the knowledge to stay safe on your bike.

First, adjust your seat to the proper height. While comfortably seated, you should still be able to stand on your tiptoes. When the pedal is at the lowest position, your leg should be only slightly bent. Anything more means the seat is too high; anything less means the efficiency of each stroke is lessened. Repeat this process for each new rider on a bike.

Inspect your bicycle for cracks or loose parts. Make sure no spokes are missing or bent. Lift the bike in the air and give each wheel a spin. Make sure the tyres do not wobble while spinning. Check to make sure the tyres do not have any cuts. An inflated tyre can still be leaking air, even at a snail-like rate. Riding a less-than-fully-functioning bike is hazardous to yourself and others. Replace any damaged parts.

Reflectors or a light are a great way to make yourself visible. This is especially important if you plan on riding in dark conditions. Brightly coloured clothing helps others see you. A bell or horn allows you to alert others of your presence.

Buy a helmet that fits you nicely. You should feel comfortable wearing it. After placing the helmet on your head, you should be able to insert two fingers into the area above your eyebrows. If you look up, your view should not be blocked, but you should see a little bit of the helmet brim. Straps should be adjusted so that the 'Y' sits comfortably around your ears, with the bottom portion of the strap hugging your lower chin. If you've been in an accident, replace the helmet straight away.

Make sure you understand the road signs. Obey them at all times. They are designed to keep the public safe, but they only work if people abide by the rules.

Follow the flow of traffic. At a junction, get off the bike and walk it across the street.

Be alert at all times. Look out for potholes, pedestrians or other obstacles on the road. Don't text or chat on your mobile while riding. Take riding seriously, and remember to have fun.

Ways to stay safe on the road

1 Adjust the seat and inspect the bike.

2 Wear a proper, comfortable helmet.

3 Ride a bike with a light or reflector; wear bright-coloured clothing.

4 Know and obey the rules of the road.

5 Ride with the flow of traffic.

6 Don't text or chat on your mobile while riding.