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Tips for cycling in the UK during the summer

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Since the global pandemic the popularity of cycling has increased substantially with an estimated 1.8 million bicycles sold alone in 2022. Given the increased popularity bicycles are being used more each day upon roads across the country. However, cyclists are at an increased risk of accidents and substantial injuries.

As we head into the summer months and temperatures start to rise we will see increased usage of bicycles on our roads. It is estimated that 42% of the country have access to bicycles, which are being used in a variety of ways such as for daily commutes or solely as a hobby.

On 29th January 2022, the Highway Code changed in some respects which are vital for road users, including cyclists, to be aware of.

An important change and guidance to note when cycling is to keep at least 0.5 metres (just over 1.5 feet) away from the kerb edge (and further where it is safer) when riding on busy roads with vehicles moving faster than you. It is also recommended to ride in the centre of the lane on quiet roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions or road narrowings.

Further guidance also suggests, when riding in groups, to be aware of people driving behind you and allow them to overtake (for example, by moving into single file or stopping) when it’s safe to do so. It is also advised that when riding past both stationary and parked vehicles to keep one car door length or one meter away to avoid being hit if a car door opens.

Important tips for cycling in the summer

Stay hydrated

When temperatures start to rise our bodies will sweat at an increased rate. Taking regular water breaks when cycling will keep your body hydrated.

Wear the appropriate clothing when cycling in the heat

It is always best to wear light weight clothes which will keep you cooler. Always avoid black material clothes as they absorb more heat, as well as being less visible at night. Bright or fluorescent, reflective clothing is recommended.

Protect your skin

When cycling during the summer months you are directly in the sunlight for an extended period. Apply and re-apply suncream with high protection factors.

Be aware of road conditions

Keep an eye out on the road as tarmac has the ability to melt and change shape when exposed to hot conditions. This can prevent accidents such as falling off your bike due to uneven road conditions.

Wear a helmet

Always wear a helmet no matter your age and no matter how warm the weather is. It has been estimated that 88% of individuals that wear a helmet and are involved in an accident avoid serious brain injuries.

Make sure your lights are working

Lights are an important feature on a bike, especially the white front light and a red rear light (this is essential at night). The bicycle must also be fitted with reflector and amber pedal reflectors if the bicycle was manufactured after the 1st October 1985.

Be aware of pedestrians

Always be on the look out for pedestrians, vehicles and other road users. Be considerate of them and don’t cycle too close to them.

Obey traffic signals

Always obey traffic signals and ensure you use hand signals to make drivers behind aware of which direction you are travelling in.

Important tips of what not to do when cycling in the summer

  • Do not operate a bicycle if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Do not disregard traffic signals
  • Never carry an additional rider if your bicycle is not suitable for one
  • Never carry items which could cause you to lose your balance or get tangled in your chain
  • Never ride in a dangerous, careless or inconsiderate manner.

If you would like more advice and guidance regarding cycling upon all roads across the country, the Highway Code rules 59-82 has plenty of information.

Following the above rules will give you the best possible chance of staying safe when cycling. However, if you have been unfortunate enough to have been involved in an accident whilst cycling then our specialist personal injury solicitors are on hand to guide you through the process of making a claim. Call us on 0161 696 6235 or complete our online enquiry form.

By Joseph Carney, graduate paralegal