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Archive for October, 2012

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

Monday, 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.