Freelance writer Jenny Holt takes us through how to keep yourself safe as a cyclist on the roads.
Safety is paramount when you’re riding your bicycle
While you can’t control the actions of other road users, it’s important that you take the necessary steps to make sure you’re doing all you can to be safe on the road. This includes being on the lookout for cyclists also using the road. There were 10 cyclists killed on Irish roads in 2016 a number which could be lowered by everyone being more vigilant, as well as employing better safety measures.
Protecting Yourself as a Cyclist
If you’re riding a bicycle on the road, you need to make sure you’re doing all you can to be seen by other road users. Despite the fact the law does not require you to wear a helmet when you’re cycling, it is in your best interest, and that of road safety, for you to wear one at all times. It will provide you protection should you become unseated, and can be the difference between life and death if you hit your head on something like a car or the ground.
Making yourself more visible is also a good idea. Typically, this means a front and rear light should be attached to your bicycle to make sure that other road users can see you on the road. These are mostly LED light now, however, there are a lot of other uses for LEDs when cycling.
Wearable technology has become increasingly popular in recent years, and for cyclists, LEDs are replacing high-vis jackets. It’s a welcome change, and people are happy to ditch the gaudy and frankly unfashionable bright yellow clothing in exchange for something better; LED-integrated clothing. These clothes have LEDs on the shoulder, or elsewhere, and allow cyclists to be identified with ease. The LEDs are lightweight and don’t need batteries or unsightly wiring.
If you’re in a vehicle, you should always try to give a cyclist as much space as possible, either when following or overtaking. Accidents can be prevented if everyone respects the space of other people. Lane defining lights can help those driving vehicles to more easily judge how much space a cyclist should be given. These lights send a beam of light down towards the road, which then illuminates an appropriately sized space so that anyone nearby can see how much space they should be giving the cyclist. Technological advances like this can make our roads safer, and lower the rates of accidents.
Jenny Holt is a freelance writer and mother of two. She loves nothing more than getting away from it and enjoying long walks and bicycle rides, something she can do a lot more now she's left the corporate world behind. She has a particular interest in road safety topics and cyclist rights.