Safety tips for cyclists

Play it safe when you’re out on your bike – that’s Derby and Derbyshire Road Safety Partnership’s message to everyone who has caught the cycling bug following the Tour de France and the Olympics.

Partnership chairman Mike Ashworth said: “Cycling is an eco-friendly way to travel and a great way to keep fit – but there are risks involved. Bikes are easy for drivers to miss because they’re so much narrower than cars and riders are more vulnerable than drivers because they’ve not got the luxury of airbags, side impact bars and seatbelts.

“We’re doing all we can to make drivers more bike aware but we’re also encouraging cyclists to take simple steps to protect themselves.”

Follow the partnership’s top tips to help you stay safe when cycling:

make sure your bike is serviced regularly

make yourself easier to spot by using choosing riding gear that that is fluorescent during the day and reflective at night

wear a helmet that meets the British Standard (BS EN 1078:1997) – and be sure to replace it after five years or if it gets damaged

use lights and pedal reflectors when visibility is poor – ask your local cycle shop for advice about legal requirements

plan your route making as much use of cycle routes as possible – use the cycle route planner on www.transportdirect.info

don’t use mobile phones or music players while cycling – distractions can cause crashes

make eye contact with motorists whenever you can – if you can’t then presume they haven’t seen you

use hand signals to let other road users know what you’re planning to do

ride well clear of the kerb so that motorists trying to emerge from left-hand junctions get a better view of you

ride a car door-width away from parked cars

on shared paths, use your bell to let pedestrians know you’re there

try to avoid cycling over drains and potholes

take a puncture repair kit and mobile phone with you in case you break down

consider improving your skills with some cycle training – many schools offer training for children and adults can find a trainer by visiting: www.dft.gov.uk/bikeability