Some days while cycling you wonder why cars were ever invented.
Is there anything better than rolling along fuelled by the excited energy that is created from the joy of the moment, our innate form of perpetual motion.
As wonderful as this moment is, awareness of your surroundings and ensuring other road users are aware of you is essential to be sure you will arrive home safely.
Improving your Safety
Some obvious things come to mind for safe cycling, like obeying the roads rules and riding predictably but something I often see lacking is the awareness of what's happening around you. Being able to foresee dangerous situations is a skill all cyclists need in their repertoire. This skill comes from experience and learning from experienced group leaders who make decisions based on their knowledge and awareness of the current situation.
In the event that something unexpected does happen, your safety is then a matter of how you react. The best thing you can do to prepare for this is to make sure your bike handling skills are up to scratch, so you can brake and/or put your bike exactly where you want to go without even thinking about it.
All the skills in the world aren't going to help you if your bike isn't in top mechanical condition. Worn tyres, imperfect brakes and dodgy gears can all effect your ability to concentrate and operate in a safe manner.
Studies have shown visibility (or invisibility) is the most common cause of incidents between cyclists and vehicles, especially in low light conditions. As most of us have limited riding time, low light conditions often combined with peak hour(s) traffic is a challenge we often face.
Bright and reflective clothing with front and rear lights will go a long way to improving your visibility and are essential in low light conditions and recommended at any time of the day.
In the end we are responsible for our own safety, therefore ensuring you have the right knowledge, skills and tools for any situation is must.
Practising courteous, responsible, non-aggressive cycling is paramount to gaining mutual respect and harmony on the roads. So rather than show anger towards bad behaviour lets acknowledge courteous behaviour with a friendly wave, the flow on effect can only be a good thing.
Brian Bubba Cooke
Exercise Physiologist, coach & cycling tragic for 30 years. Love the freedom, reward and sense of achievement that one can only experience in our amazing sport.