According to various press organisations, and of course the mayor of London, this year is one of the biggest in terms of numbers of cyclists on the roads. With the recent editions of the Bike Super Highways in combination with the Boris Bikes there are an unprecedented number of us out there on the streets of London. Sadly, with the recent spate of tragic deaths of London cyclists, the dangers of cycling have been brought to the forefront of everyone’s mind. So today, we’ve put together a list of our Top Tips for London Cyclists.
#1 Keep an eye on fellow cyclists
Sadly, cycling seems to bring out careless behaviour in a lot of London’s two-wheel set. These chaps often skip the lights, undertake and generally ride too close and too fast – it’s a real pity to have to write this one first but we thought it should go first so we could get it out the way quickly. As the Cycle Superhighways increase the numbers of bikers perhaps this will improve in the near future.
Note To Cyclists: Ride Carefully!
#2 Be SUPER CAREFUL around HGVs
The vast majority of cyclist deaths involve trucks and lorries or other heavy goods vehicles. HGVs are dangerous not only because of their huge size and weight but because of the large blind-spots they have meaning they could quite easily crush you to death without even noticing. Don’t undertake lorries and if you feel one is dangerously close your best bet is to slow down and let it get well ahead of you before you reach any junctions or turns.
#3 Make sure your tires are pumped
This one should be a no brainer but we’re constantly amazed at how many people we see riding around on flat tyres. This reduces your cornering ability and stability as well as slowing you down, so make sure your tires are full of air to make the most of your journey. You’ll want to make sure you’ve got a puncture repair kit too.
#4 Ride where you can be seen
It’s actually safest to ride at least one meter away from the curb so you can avoid people getting out of cars and other hazards. Don’t be afraid to be assertive, you’re legally required to ride on the road rather than the pavement which means you have a right to a spot in the middle of the road if that’s where you feel safest – so don’t let other motorists scare push you onto the edges of the curb as this is the most dangerous spot for any cyclist travelling at speed.
#5 Be polite and courteous
This could be translated several ways depending on your attitude – for some this might simply mean try not to swear at people, for other it might mean actually going as far as smiling at someone to let them know you’re there when you’re stopped at a light, instead of sticking your fingers up when they nearly run you off the road because you were undertaking them. Basically we’re saying, if we want drivers to be considerate of cyclists, then we need to be considerate too.
Keep a Mobile Bike Service number in your phone or even their website. Service’s like these are an essential for any serious rider, if you ride your bike more than a couple of times a week then you’re bound to have something go wrong in the near future – it’s just a reality of cycling – no matter how expensive your bike. Think of these guys as the cyclist’s White Knights of London – when you need a hand they’ll be there.
I am a copywriter and poet with a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Creative Writing. I have worked in various marketing & creative roles since 2001. My aim is to publish at least one novel before I die – so far I have had 2 poems published internationally in print as well as some online. In my professional capacity I currently work for an advertising agency in London.
Photo by Petras Gagilas