The first thing to keep in mind is that riding is not a risky sport. According to Department of Transportation statistics, the number of other road users killed on the road such as pedestrians and vehicle drivers are higher compared to the number of cyclists getting into road accidents.
However, even if the objective danger is modest, fear of road traffic remains a big deterrent for many individuals when it comes to riding. A better awareness of how to keep safe when cycling will give you the confidence you need to go out and enjoy all the benefits cycling has to offer.
How dangerous is road cycling?
Cycling is probably a lot safer nowadays than you believe. During the coronavirus epidemic, for example, the introduction of cycle paths and pop-up bike lanes gave bikers their own defined area and should minimize any scrapes with automobiles or other vehicles to a minimum.
Cycling's safety is also supported by statistics. According to the National Travel Survey, a bicycle mortality occurs once per nine million bike rides, and the chance of any injury when cycling is under 5% for 1,000 hours of cycling.
This statistics is significantly lower than the recorded data on cycling accidents during 2019. A total of 16,884 cyclists were injured in documented traffic incidents in 2019, with 4,433 died or badly wounded.
Furthermore, during the same year, 100 cyclists were killed in the UK alone. In this data, 4,333 were critically hurt, and 12,451 were mildly injured.
This means that while road cycling is now generally safer than before, the possibility of getting into a fatal road accident is still there. This is why it’s essential to know how you can keep yourself safe on the road.
How to keep yourself safe on the road?
Fortunately, keeping yourself protected against road accidents is easy. Here are some ways on how you can do it:
1. Use the right biking accessories
The first thing you should do is to get the right biking accessories such as bike lights.
According to our case study, brake lights for bicycles can reduce road collisions by up to 72%. Most cycling-related road collisions are characterized by larger vehicles hitting the biker from behind because of abrupt braking. So, a brake light is really a must.
Furthermore, the combination of a white front light and red rear light has been verified to boost your road visibility, so much so that it has been a legal requirement in some countries such as Germany.
2. Get the appropriate bike for your riding habits
It may be difficult to find the perfect bike, especially if you’re a beginner. But keep in mind that your bike can make or break your riding experience.
If you’ll be using your bike for casual riding and commuting around the city, it’s best to go for a commuter bike with single-speed. Their small and simple build is perfect for riding on well-cemented roads and small alleys in the city.
Aside from this, their minimal suspension makes them more stable. Thus, you can safely pass through other road vehicles without losing your balance. The only downside is that because they have no gears, you’d have to exert extra energy when going uphill.
3. Cycle carefully
Last but not least, you have to cycle carefully. Here are a few do’s and don’ts which cyclists often forget when riding on the city:
- If possible, stick to the designated cycling lanes;
- Don’t let yourself be boxed between larger vehicles;
- Avoid cycling on gutter area;
- Always do pre-ride checks;
- Use hand signals when riding with other vehicles and pedestrians.
As long as you observe these cycling precautions, you can lower your risk of getting into a road collision.
Now that you know how to avoid the dangers of road cycling, you can now fully enjoy its benefits.