Cyclists are incredibly vulnerable road users especially in the autumn/winter time with limited daylight and the challenging road conditions which significantly increase the risk of accidents, and can result in broken bones, lacerations, abrasions and psychological injuries.
Lots of advice and guidance for cyclists can be found in Sections 59-82 of the Highway Code, however here are some top tips for staying safe when cycling in the dark.
You should wear:
- A cycle helmet which conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and securely fastened
- Appropriate cycle clothing
- Light coloured or fluorescent clothing which will help other road users to see the cyclist in both daylight and poor light
- Reflective clothing when cycling in the dark
- A 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
- White front and spoke reflectors will also help make sure you are visible
- Flashing lights are permitted but if you are riding in an area where there is no street lighting then a steady front lamp should be used.
In addition to the above safety clothing/accessories here is list of what you should do and what you should not do when cycling.
What you should do when cycling
- Keep both hands on the handlebars except when signalling or changing gear
- Keep both feet on the pedals
- Never ride more than two abreast
- Ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends
- Do not ride close behind other vehicles
- Do not carry anything which will affect your balance or may get tangled up with the wheels or chain
- Be considerate of other road users i.e., the blind, partially sighted, pedestrians
- Obey all traffic signs and traffic light signals
- Look all around before moving away from the kerb, turning or manoeuvring to make sure it is safe to do so
- Give a clear signal to show other road users what you intend to do
- Look well ahead for obstructions i.e: drains, potholes, parked vehicles
- Leave plenty of room when passing parked vehicles and watch out for doors being opened or pedestrians stepping into your path
- Be aware of traffic coming up behind you.
What you shouldn't do when cycling
- Carry a passenger unless your cycle has been built or adapted to carry one
- Hold onto a moving vehicle or trailer
- Ride in a dangerous, careless or inconsiderate manner
- Ride under the influence of drink or drugs
- You must not cross the stop line when the traffic lights are red.
By following the above rules this 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 Kathryn Horton, paralegal in the personal injury team