"Make sure you stay safe on the road whilst commuting"
Using your daily commute can be a great way to train for cycling on the road and help to build your cycling stamina. Commuting to work during rush hour may be a daunting prospect, so we’ve created this handy guide to help keep you safe during your cycle to and from work.
1. Use cycle routes: Cycle routes are there specifically for you, so make use of them as they are there to keep you safe whilst cycling. Some areas may not have a cycle route, so if you’re riding on the road, make sure you cycle on the correct side, in a position that is visible and gives you a good view of the entire road. Many cyclists choose to cycle to the left of the lane to allow cars to pass easily, however, this is not a requirement and is simply a matter of courtesy. If you do choose to cycle to the left, allow yourself space to avoid potholes and drains.
2. Wear protection: We know that helmet hair isn’t a good look for most people, but when we tell you to wear a helmet YOU SHOULD! Protecting the most important part of your body is key to anyone riding a bike, whether cycling on the road or not. Trust us, if you were to fall off your bike and hit your head, you’ll want to be wearing a helmet!
3. Get a reliable bike: You might already have a bike in the shed which is in need of a little TLC, so check out our Top Tips for Bike Maintenance guide. If you don’t already own one and are thinking about getting one, make sure you check out the variety of bikes available and get one that is right for you. A roadworthy and reliable bike is important - why not chat to your company and see if they offer any cycle to work incentive, as this may help you to buy a new bike.
4. Be seen: Having good lights on your bike is essential to any commute. If you don’t have lights on your bike and ride in the dark, you are breaking the law and putting yourself and others in a lot of unnecessary danger. The Highway Code makes it a legal requirement to have red rear and white front lights, as well as a red rear reflector attached. Wearing bright and reflective clothing can also help you be seen on the roads.
5. Spare clothes: Having a spare set of clothes in your bag or under your desk is a good idea. Don’t commute in your work clothes as you are likely to get hot and sweaty; and will have to wear those clothes all day! Opposite to that, if it rains and you don’t have a change of clothing, you’ll be sitting in wet clothes throughout the day. Some workplaces will provide staff showers – just remember your towel!
6. Pop it, lock it: Don’t want to lose your bike? Invest in a good bike lock or find out if your work has a secure space for bike storage.
7. Other vehicles: Bikes and other vehicles can work in perfect harmony if everyone understands and respects each other. When approaching a junction, make sure you are aware of the vehicles around you and ensure you are positioned and signal early to make your turn. When overtaking a parked vehicle, give yourself additional room as the driver might not see you and open the door. Just like when driving, be aware of vehicles turning into and from junctions - anticipation and awareness are important whilst cycling. Avoid undertaking (passing a vehicle on the left) as they may not see you and may be allowing oncoming vehicles to pass. Remember that if you cannot see their mirrors, they may not see you - especially on lorries, buses and other long vehicles. Respecting vehicles, traffic lights and junctions will also help keep you safe on the road.
8. Indicate: Getting annoyed at motorists not indicating is a common problem, but cyclists not indicating is just as common. When you’re planning on turning at a junction make sure you signal early and check the positioning of other vehicles before making your move. This will allow other road users to understand where you are going..
9. Follow the Highway Code: Cyclists are required to follow the highway code, and to see the Rules for Cyclists click here.
To help you build more confidence whilst out on your bike, why not check out one of our GO TRI Active sessions.
*If you happen to be a British Triathlon member, please note that the British Triathlon Membership does not cover you whilst commuting.