Top Tips for Cyclists
For safety, a knowledge of cycling etiquette is important. The following tips have been shown to work:
- Safety checks – Always complete a safety check of your bike, helmet and clothing before you ride and make sure that everything is fit for purpose.
- Keep the lead rider informed – Let the ride leader know if you are intending to leave the ride at any point.
- Keep an eye out – Be conscious of what the lead rider and other people around you are doing. Are they breaking on a downhill? Are they signalling to slow down? Are they making you aware of a pothole? Also, be aware that when riders get tired they can lose concentration.
- Be predictable – The nature of group riding means that it is important that you are predictable. For instance that you maintain a constant speed, do not break suddenly unless it’s an emergency and that you ride in a straight line. Beginners are advised to maintain a safe distance and err on the side of caution.
- Hand signals – Hand signals for turning,stopping, potholes and parked cars. Alert fellow riders to potential risks on the road by pointing down to the right or left and shouting ‘pothole’, ‘gravel’ etc.
- Verbal warnings – The lead rider will verbally warn cyclists of changes in direction or speed – for example, ‘left turn’, ‘right turn’,’slowing’,’ stopping’, etc. – well in advance. For those riders behind, at an intersection call out the warning.
- Watch out at junctions – When approaching junctions the lead rider will alert riders behind to the change in speed but ultimately each cyclist is responsible for his/her own safety at intersections and must decide for himself/herself when the way is clear. The lead rider will slow the pace down until all riders have regrouped.
- Change positions safely – If you intend to pass another cyclist you should pass on the right. Pre-warn the cyclist in front of you by saying ‘on your right’. It is considered impolite and potentially dangerous to move out of position and ride up the inside of the pack. Riders may not expect you to be there.
- Watch for traffic approaching from behind – Those in the front of the group may be unaware of a car approaching so riders at the back should inform other cyclists by saying ‘car back’. Likewise it is also helpful to use the term ‘car up’to announce traffic approaching from the front e.g. when riding around bends, on narrow roads and cycling double.
- Leave room for cars – Car drivers often become frustrated that they cannot get past a group of riders. That’s when they are most likely to take chances and accidents can occur. It is the rider’s responsibility to leave a gap for cars between every three or four bikes, especially when riding up hills or on narrow roads. This allows motorists to take a number of shorter passing intervals.
- Don’t stop on the road – If you have to stop for a puncture, for example, or to allow slower riders to catch up, make sure that you move off the road to enable traffic to flow smoothly. Remember to yield to traffic when you start off again.
- Ride a maximum of two abreast – Never ride more than two across (where legal) and use your common sense – if cars are trying to pass you, it’s courteous and much safer to ride single file.
- Follow the Highway Code – Always follow the Highway Code and remember that you are responsible for your own safety at all times.
- Teamwork – A safe and enjoyable ride means looking out for one another and helping each other along.