7 Top Tips For Staying Safe on Your Bike

Did you know… Recent figures show that over 21,000 UK cyclists were injured in road accidents in a 12-month period

In parallel with cycling’s rise in popularity has come an even faster increase in the number of cyclists seriously injured. This is a reminder of the importance of following road safety advice.

Cycling Safety infographic

Here are Wilco Motosave top tips for staying safe on the roads:

Get protected

Wear a helmet that fits correctly, is securely fastened and complies with current regulations. This goes to the heart of cycling safety: we are only little soft pink things riding around with big hard metal things – if we get it wrong, it could all go very badly for us, and especially our very precious heads. There are many cases of a helmet saving a cyclist’s life, and to borrow from the Motorcyclists’ Handbook Of Apt Phrases: “got a £5 head? Then buy a £5 helmet”. Protect your head. You can see our full range of helmets here.

Around three quarters of cyclists who are killed have major head injuries

Stay visible

Front and rear lights must be used after dark and if visibility is low. Not being seen is one of the biggest causes of bicycle accidents with drivers simply not seeing cyclists. A Drivers’ depth perception is diminished at night, so lights are essential to let them know where you are.
As well as lights, reflective hi-visibility clothing is a great way to let motorists know that you’re there. More than a flashing light in the dark, they’ll be able to see that you’re a person on a bike! says that a car crossing at a junction from the left and not seeing the cyclist is the most common cause of collision

Consider training

Whether you’re a beginner or a regular cyclist, it’s worth considering training to increase your road skills and boost your confidence.

The Accident Analysis & Prevention study found that children aged 10 and 11 years who had been trained and passed the cycling proficiency test had lower accident rates than other children

Look after your bike

You’re nodding your head like it’s obvious, but how often do you check the following things?

  • Tyre pressure Get a floor-standing pump and a Tyre Pressure Gauge to make sure they’re the right PSI (will be written on the tyre) or head to a Wilco Motosave store to check.
  • Brake pads If the grooves in the rubber pads aren’t there any more, you need new ones. They’re easy to change and all you need is an Allen key. Or we can help you fit them if you need!
  • Tighten brakes This goes hand-in-hand with the above. It’s easy to put off, but you can tighten loose brakes by unscrewing the brake barrel adjuster (by the brake lever or the brake). Failing that, loosen the cable fixing bolt using an Allen key and pull a little more cable through to tighten.
  • Clean your chain Don’t just lube it, wash it with soapy water before using a good lubricant to keep moving parts rust-free and not wearing away. While you’ve got the lubricant out, get it on any part that comes into contact with the chain – From the gears to cogs.
  • Service your bike While there is a lot you can do to keep your bike running well and you safe in the saddle, it’s worth getting your bike serviced once a year just to get an expert’s eye over it to check there’s nothing you’ve missed and fix anything you have. We offer great bike service and advice at many of our branches, so why not come in for a free consultation?

Of the many  accidents caused by a defective bicycle in 2014, the top cause was brakes

Follow the Highway Code

The Highway Code is actually less boring than it sounds, and it could save you a few pounds… or even your life.
As well as rules and safety advice, it lets you know what you can get fined for. For example, if you commit a minor traffic offence, you could be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice and minor FPNs can be as much as £50. While it’s a £30 fine for jumping a red light a maximum of £500 for ‘cycling on the pavement’, there is a massive £1,000 fine for being drunk.

Did you know that carrying a passenger on a bicycle not designed for it can result in a £200 fine?

Road surfaces

Be aware of the road surface and its condition – from wear-and-tear to weather. Smooth tarmac is a smooth ride, but grip is lessened and your stopping distance will be extended. While concrete roads offer increased grip, everything is more dangerous in the wet. Next time you ride, just take a look down… what are you riding on? How should you ride? Going slower means you’ll have more time to make decisions quickly if you need to.

One study found half of crashes of cyclists admitted to A&E had been due to a collision with a manmade obstacle, a fall due to the road surface, such as potholes, or due to objects on the road

Be confident, but be aware

Ride positively, decisively and clear of the kerb. Be aware of your surroundings, signal clearly and, if possible, try to make eye contact with drivers when preparing to make a turn so you know they have seen you. Ride in a position where you can see and can be seen. A bell is helpful to alert pedestrians who haven’t noticed you. Many cyclists listen to music when cycling, but it’s just another sense that won’t be tuned into what’s happening on the road and could be dangerous.

80% of cycling accidents occur in daylight

From all of us at Wilco Motosave, to all our cyclist friends, stay safe on the roads this summer!

Read more cycling tips.