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Cycling in London: The Do’s and Don’ts

October 29th, 2012

Cycling has become one of the more popular approaches to commuting around London. You get to save money on public transport as well as keeping yourself in shape. Being the busy city that London is, there are many more hazards to avoid and as well as advice to heed.

DO keep your bike well maintained

If you plan on cycling to work, or just for pleasure, every day then it is worth investing in a proper road bike. Although these may seem expensive, there are no running costs apart from repairs. Ensuring that your tires are pumped up and the anti-rust paint is not chipped will increase the longevity of your bicycle. The design of the grips, pedal, and seat will make it more comfortable and smoother to ride on. These can easily be changed to suit all different needs.

DO follow road signals

Although in smaller cities or towns you can get away with ignoring road signals, in London they are essential to follow. There is a fine for those who do not adhere to simple rules, such as jumping red lights or not cycling in the dark with front and rear lights on. Sticking to the road laws will ensure that you are safe, as well as other people. Jumping red lights can cause a collision with a pedestrian. This is also why you should cycle on the road as much as possible, unless cycle paths indicate you do otherwise.

DO wear safety gear

Being seen is being safe, especially on a bicycle. High visibility jackets are a must when cycling in the dark, as car lights will illuminate you. A helmet is also essential. Your head is the easiest part to damage, but thankfully, the easiest part to protect. Keep your body as covered as you can, to cushion the impact if you do fall off.

DON’T undertake Lorries

This is the most dangerous act you can do as a cyclist, whether in London or not. Lorries and other HGV’s have blind spots due to their long vehicles and can easily miss a cyclist when turning left. It takes no more than common sense to know what happens when a bike and a lorry come into contact! When it comes to larger vehicles, hang back, even if it means you get to your destination later, just to be safer.

DON’T move erratically

Changing lane or turning into a junction without the correct hand signals can cause you to be a danger to car drivers and other cyclists. Hold out the respective arm straight, depending on which way you are turning. Look beside and behind briefly to check that there is no one over/undertaking you and that you have a clear path. It’s easy to set off a chain reaction through sudden and unexpected changes, so be sure that other road users are aware of your actions.

London is a busy city, but many commuters cycle every day. It’s not an impossible or entirely dangerous task, as is driving, but there are dangers to be aware of. Being sensible on your bike is the best way to ensure your safety, as well as making the road you are on an easier place to cycle.

Beth O’Brien is a student from Bournemouth University, working on behalf of Irwin Mitchell, who are experts on personal injury claims and contentious probate. She believes that everyone should be prepared, no matter the case, and that most injuries can be prevented.

Sponsored post: Making Sure you are Visible to Other Road Users

December 22nd, 2011

The A bike, another invention from Sir Clive Sinclair, is a revolution in the biking world. It is a foldable bike that is light weight and easily portable. This being said it is smaller than other bikes and as such you may be more at risk to injury if you are involved in a cycling accident.

Visibility is Key

Making sure that you are visible to other road users is essential, especially in busy cities like London, Manchester and Leeds. During the winter months when the nights are drawing in earlier and earlier using his visibility vests and bright lights is key to being seen.

You can fit normal bike lights on the A bike as there is plenty of room on the nylon reinforced fibre glass frame to place them. Making sure that you are visible to drivers and other cyclists will help you avoid an accident.

Cycling Accidents

If you are involved in an accident that is serious enough then you may need to seek professional advice from an injury lawyer. With the shocking statistic that one cyclist is killed on Britain’s roads every two and a half days then there is real cause to be cautious on the roads.

If you are involved in an accident on the roads then there are many things that you can do to make sure you get the compensation that you so rightly deserve.

Compensation Claims

Dependant on the type and severity of the accident you may seek to try for medical assistance either in the way of taking yourself to A&E or by ringing an ambulance. Either way if this is documented and you do make a claim for injury compensation you have proof of the accident and injuries sustained.

Whether you are riding you’re a bike during the day or night if you are not visible to the rest of the road users then you may be at risk of being involved in an accident.

This post is brought to you from First4Lawyers.com

Sponsored post: Cyclist accidents on the increase for 2011

September 14th, 2011

A rise of 26 per cent in the number of accidents involving cyclists in the UK has prompted an outcry for greater awareness of the dangers of cycling amongst all road users.

The Department for Transport’s recently published Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2010, observed that in the first quarter of 2011 the total number of cyclists killed and injured on Britain’s roads was 3,730 – up from 2,961 on the same period in 2010.

The DfT’s report states that four of the five most frequently reported contributory factors were some kind of driver/rider error or reaction.

In 57 per cent of serious accidents involving a cyclist and a vehicle, the reason of ‘failed to look properly’ was attributed as the cause of the accident by the driver of the vehicle.

Speed is another common factor, and although excessive speed was cited as a contributory factor in only five per cent of accidents in 2010, it was a contributory factor in 17 per cent of fatal ones.

Overall, speeding and ‘driving too fast for the road conditions’ were cited as contributory factors in 30 per cent of all fatal accidents, and loss of control (to which excessive speed could have contributed) was a factor in another 36 per cent of fatal accidents.

Other causes for accidents can include poor road surface, such as potholes, of which there are an estimated 1.6 million on the UK’s roads. Obstacles in the path or road, a manufacturing fault, poor maintenance or a collision with a pedestrian or animal were also cited as reasonably common causes. Many of these resulted in accident claims being filed.

Interestingly, the report also estimates that the cost of all these accidents to the British economy was £15.82billion in 2009 alone, which lies in stark comparison with the estimate £18billion cost of Britain’s war in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2011.

Boom in popularity of cycling

According to a recently-published report from the London School of Economics and Political Science, it is estimated that 208 million bicycle journeys were made during 2010. This equates to a 1.3 million rise in Britain’s cyclist population, and brings the total number of cyclists in the UK to 13 million.

The report also purports that a 20 per cent increase in cycling levels by 2015 could save £52 million in NHS costs and £107 million by reducing premature deaths, and by delivering beneficial cuts to pollution and congestion, saving the government £207 million and £71 million, respectively.

Cyclist accident facts (courtesy of RoSPA, February 2011)

  • Around 75 per cent of fatal or serious cyclist accidents occur in urban areas;
  • Around three quarters of cyclists killed have major head injuries;
  • Around half of cyclist fatalities occur on rural roads;
  • 75 per cent happen at, or near, a road junction;
  • 80 per cent occur in daylight;
  • 80 per cent of cyclist casualties are male;
  • Almost one quarter of the cyclists killed or injured are children;
  • 2,771 cyclists were killed or injured on Britain’s roads in 2010 (DfT).

Case studies

On Tue 9 August 2011, lifelong-dedicated and extremely experienced cyclist 75-year-old cyclist, Audrey Fyfe, was reportedly clipped by a car while riding home through Edinburgh after visiting family and succumbed to a serious head injury in hospital two days later.

When Sam Harding, 25, was cycling in the bus lane on Holloway Road at 1pm on Saturday 6 August 2011, he was forced to swerve into the path of a single decker bus in order to avoid a parked car’s open door. He died on impact.

2010 saw 29-year-old army officer, Capt Jonathan Allen, killed when he collided with a lorry after swerving to avoid a pothole on the A338 en route to his Wiltshire barracks. The County Council had previously received a complaint about the pothole, but deemed that it was 5mm ‘too shallow’ to meet the requirements for repair.


Limb injuries

With 40 per cent suffering arm injuries and around 25 per cent suffering leg injuries, these are most common injury sustained by cyclist.

Head injuries

These range from cases of minor concussion and cuts to fatal brain damage and skull fractures. Incredibly, this is a common injury suffered by cyclists, with around three quarters of cyclists killed having sustained major head injuries.

Chest/abdomen injuries

Chest and abdomen injuries occur much less frequently (five per cent), but are incredibly serious and are often accompanied by head injuries.

Alarmingly, in fact, hospital data shows that over 40 per cent of adult cyclists and 45 per cent of child cyclists suffer head injuries. A study of 116 fatal cyclist accidents in London and rural areas found over 70 per cent of the cyclist fatalities in London had moderate or serious head injuries in London, and over 80 per cent of those killed in collisions on rural roads. And up to 45% of people who had these injuries filed personal injury claims.

How to prevent cycling accidents

  • Familiarise yourself with the rules of the road using the Highway Code, and stick rigidly to them
  • Don’t take unnecessary risks, e.g. running red lights, cycling on the left hand side of a bus;
  • Wear high-visibility, reflective clothing, to help other road users see you at all times;
  • If you wear a rucksack, ensure it’s highlighted with reflectors or a high-visibility shell/strips;
  • Wear a good quality, well-fitted bicycle helmet to help minimise the risk of head injury;
  • Ensure that your bike and its component parts are well maintained, regularly – especially during the winter months;
  • Cycle well away from the curb, especially where vehicles are parked or where it is likely that a pedestrian will step out into the road between parked vehicles;
  • Avoid cycling on poorly surfaced and/or busy roads.

To make a claim

You must prove that the other party was negligent, and that injury and/or property damage sustained occurred as a result of this negligence. The following steps will help strengthen your case:

  1. Always exchange contact details with the other party, noting vehicle details yourself;
  2. Report the incident to the police – this is particularly important in case the other party decides not to cooperate;
  3. Seek medical treatment, especially where there has been a trauma, of any level, to the head;
  4. Wherever possible, take photos of the accident scene – this will support any liability dispute, which often occurs in cyclist/vehicle accidents.
  5. If your accident was as a result of poor road surface or an obstacle, take photographs – you could even measure the hazard, e.g. the depth of the pothole.
  6. Obtain as many witness contact details as possible – these can supply valuable supporting evidence from a different perspective to your own;
  7. Either dig out the original purchase receipt for the bike if it’s been written off, or acquire a replacement/repair quote.
  8. You may well be entitled to claim against the motorist’s insurance for cycle accident compensation. For advice on how to pursue a claim, either call us free on 0800 567 7866, request a call back your convenience by filling in the contact form to the right, or complete an online claim form.

A cycle accident can often be terrifying and can result in serious physical injuries and mental scars. Compensation accounts for the trauma of an accident and any costs incurred as a result, e.g. bicycle repair/replacement, replacement of bicycle accessories, medical care and loss of earnings.

This post is brought to you from First4Lawyers.com.

A for Art.

April 20th, 2008

tate modern

(A-bike at Tate Modern’s turbine hall. Taking down (repairing) of the massive floor crack work by Doris Salcedo on the background.)

19th April, I went out to catch a performance by friend of mine, who is currently showing in a group exhibition at Level 2 Gallery, TATE MODERN. Since I was a bit behind schedule, I took my A-bike with me to do the usual golden combination of public transport and A-bike to be there in time.

I rode A-bike from my home to nearest station, folded A, took A to inside train, off at Waterloo East Station, unfolded A, rode straight to Tate Modern. I saved about 15 minutes there over all. It’s only 15mins, you might think, but the 15mins is big if you are on the verge of being late for important stuff such as business meeting, lecture or rendez-vous with fierce girlfriend.

In the train to Waterloo East, an American lady approached and said “Ooo… America should have one like that.” American A-bike market is a kinda gray zone to me, so I didn’t mention Urban Rider or else to her.

Gail Pickering, Zulu, Speaking in Radical Tongues
(Gail Pickering, Zulu (Speaking in Radical Tongues) 2008, performance view)

Thanks to my A-bikie, I managed to reach there before the performance began. After having satisfying food for thought, it’s time to fill my stomach. There were my girlfriend and three other people joined me at Tate. Two of them, visitors from Japan, insisted to have good drinks and good foods, so I showed them some options in my mobile phone to make a peaceful agreement on the night’s diner. The Anchor and Hope (36, The Cut) off Southwark Underground Station was the choice we made.

Nokia, N95 8GB, iGo, Stowaway, bluetooth, keyboard, wireless
(Mobile essentials: A-bike, Nokia N95 8GB, iGO Stowaway Ultra Slim Bluetooth wireless keyboard. No need to say anything for the bike. Nokia N95 is a nice smartphone, but it eats battery like nobody’s business. Built-in GPS and Internet functions really need unlimited internet access to be companied. Some service providers offer the option in reasonable price. I got my unlimited access for £5 from 3. The Stowaway keyboard is a-must-have item if you have a smartphone. The great foldable keyboard can be purchased as cheap as £18 in UK online shops like play.com.)

The Anchor and Hope, snail, guinness
(I and friends shared Deep Fried Pig Head, Snail and Bacon Salad, and Crab on Toast. They seem small at first, but surprisingly very filling. These delicious plates are also modestly priced at about £6 each. Sorry, no picture of the foods, but an empty Guinness pint on the table.)

(A-bike can be taken to upstairs of Double Decker Bus without fuss. Don’t you love this bike just for that reason?)

Here We Dance at Tate Modern:
The Anchor and Hope (review at squaremeal.co.uk):

Korean Ex-President, Mr. Noganzi

April 16th, 2008

Did you see or can you imagine your old and authoritative President on a bicycle?  Here is Mr. Noganzi, an Ex-President of Korea. He retired just 2 months ago.

(Korean Ex-President, ‘Moohyun No’ on an electric bike)

In Korean modern history, most Presidents strongly insisted on their power. But many peoples could blame President in his term because he exceptionally permitted the impolite things. Now the other Ex-Presidents can’t appear among peoples without bodyguards. How opposed!! Mr. Noganzi can enjoy cycling with two granddaugnters!!

(Returned to old cowboy bring two granddaughters on bicycle-trailer.)

Frankly, Mr. Noganzi can’t go out freely like the others. Everyday, there are thousands – 10 times on weekend – peoples who are shouting in front of his house, “Noganzi !!  We are waiting for you all day long. Please show you and take a picture together !!”

I can tell you surely, “If your President rides a bicycle after his term, he was honest and he never made a crime in his term.”

※ His real name is Moohyun No. / ‘ganzi’ means ‘exciting’, ‘attractive’ and ‘precious’. Suitable for the most famous actor.

Blade Runner.

April 13th, 2008

(These people were really fast. No match for A-bike.)

April 13 2008. That’s the day for London Marathon, once again!! One year on since the last one, I was riding A-bike then and Yes, I’m still on the very same bike. Some of my colleagues, whom I only get to see around this time of the year, noticed my A-bike and went “Hey, I do remember the bike! You ARE still riding!?” I took it as a compliment. hahaha.

London marathon runner
(Elite runners were very fast. No match for A…… never mind.)

I was at 35km point near Shadwell. Current closure of East London Line and alot of road blocks make the location less accessible, but with A-bike, no problem getting there from Media Center right next to Tower Bridge. Fold the A-bike, then going through crowd is also a piece of cake. A photographer saw my bike and told his mate, “Have you seen that one? That’s great thing. You can bring it to everywhere!!”. He certainly got a point there.

(Gorilla… maybe a good match. I love this fun bit of London Marathon.)

Tower Bridge

Around 3PM, My A-bike had a treat of having Tower Bridge all for himself (well, almost)!! It’s a real joy to ride there without traffic. If you’ve ridden on there before, you know what I’m talking about. Usually the bridge is so busy and many buses on such a narrow road. On top of that, side of the road has recessed surface caused by traffic over the years. Do not ride A-bike there unless it’s a special occasion like today. The recess traps the small tyre of A-bike and makes it almost uncontrollable. It’s really dangerous road especially for A-bike!! I cannot stress this enough!!

Once you are out of the main road and go for the pedestrian, it’s nice and easy with a great view of Themes, though.

A-bike Mk-II? No, it’s A-bike Plus!!

April 12th, 2008

Just in case you are one of those rare species who don’t read our fantastic forum, here is a news. Go here and read it!! You can get all the information currently available from official A-bike store about forthcoming A-bike Plus (a.k.a. A-bike Mk-II).


The new version has…
1. A newly strengthen leyshaft.

2. An improved freewheel assembly.

3. Strengthen alminium tubing.

4. A new air-sprung cushioned saddle.

5. A smoother drive mechanism.

6. An improved sports carry bag.

While the reason why A-bike team decided to change the version name for the new one from Mk-II to Plus is unknown, I could say the Plus is definitely a plus to A-bike market.

Release date isn’t announced just yet, but ‘later this spring’ according to the official website. There is still a possibility of more improvement will be revealed before deployment. Oh, this suspense is killing me!!

tower bridge

Tower Bridge will be also getting a new finish. The construction will commence this summer.