11/12/2023 – Danny Holman


Cycling is an exhilarating, rewarding and eco-friendly way to stay healthy, connect with the wider world and get around town. But while there are many benefits, there are also some risks involved. Whether you are a seasoned cyclist or a beginner, it’s crucial to prioritize your safety every time you hit the road. Cycling is a great way to get some exercise, but it can also be a potentially dangerous activity that requires appropriate safety measures to ensure your well-being.

By implementing these 10 tips for better safety, you can help prevent injuries and accidents on your next ride. Additionally, we will look at how indoor cycling can also minimize or stop some of the risks of outdoor cycling.

1. Wear a helmet

This is the most essential safety tip, and can protect you from a serious head injury if you take a fall. They can reduce serious head injuries by 60%, traumatic brain injury by 53% and reduce the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured by 34%. Ensure it fits snugly and correctly when purchasing one, covers your forehead properly, and is certified for safety standards. Also make sure to adjust the straps properly when putting it on. It's not just a precaution; it's a necessity for your well-being. Helmet technology evolves every year and new safety systems like MIPS, Fluid Inside, SPIN and Turbine, as well as several others, have made helmets far more effective. They cost a little more, but you are worth it. Try to get the best helmet your budget will allow.

2. Regular Bike Maintenance

Your bicycle is your trusty companion on the road, and like any friend, it needs looking after. Regularly check your brakes, tires, and gears - especially in Spring when the outdoor season begins and take it in for a service and tune-up by an expert. Always look for signs of wear and tear, loose components, or any unusual sounds. Keeping your bike in top condition ensures it performs reliably and will also keep you safe.

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3. Be visible

To stand out on the road, wear bright, reflective clothing so that you are visible to motorists. Visibility is crucial, especially when riding during low-light conditions or at night. Equip your bike with front and rear lights and use reflectors to enhance your presence on the road. Being seen by others so that they are aware of your presence is one of the best ways to stay safe.

4. Follow Traffic Rules

Your bike may not be as big or powerful as a car, but it is still a vehicle and you should always think of it in that way. That means that as a cyclist, it’s essential to know and follow all traffic rules, just like motorists. Obey traffic lights, stop signs, and other traffic signs to keep yourself and other road users safe. This is especially true if you are cycling in foreign countries where you may be less aware of the road rules. The single largest cause of fatal bike crashes is failing to yield the right of way. A cyclist invariably always loses a clash with a car.

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5. Use Hand Signals

Make use of proper hand signals when turning, changing lanes or intending to slow down. This will help motorists and other cyclists anticipate your actions and prevent collisions significantly.

6. Stay Alert

Always use your senses to be aware of your surroundings. Listen for oncoming traffic, especially when you have to make turns or change lanes. Keep your eyes peeled for any potential road hazards, such as potholes and debris. It's easier to stay focused by avoiding distractions such as texting, listening to music, or taking calls while cycling. Try to adopt a defensive and predictable attitude when cycling - always attempt to anticipate what others may do, before they do it.

7. Watch out for opening car doors

Riding near parked cars requires extra caution as drivers exiting cars may not see you coming up from behind and car doors can open suddenly, posing a significant danger. Ride a safe distance around them to give yourself time to react if a door swings open.

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8. Check for Weather Conditions

Before heading out, always check the weather and prepare accordingly. Ensure that you are dressed appropriately for the weather conditions outside but also be aware that weather can be unpredictable, especially in hilly areas, with rapid changes in temperature and precipitation. Weather conditions can impact your bike's handling. Adjust your riding style for rain, snow, or strong winds. Wet roads can be slippery, and poor visibility due to heavy rain can be hazardous. Ride cautiously and consider postponing your ride if conditions are extreme.

9. Use Bike Lanes and Paths

Whenever possible, ride in designated bike lanes or paths. These areas are designed to protect cyclists from vehicular traffic, reducing the risk of collisions. Using them not only enhances your safety but also promotes a stronger cycling infrastructure development in your community. The more they are used, the more bike lanes will be built. Avoid pedestrian sidewalks as people may not be anticipating the passing of a fast moving cyclist. If you do, always make your presence known to pedestrians using a call or bell.

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10. Listen to Your Body

Sometimes, your body may not be up for a ride due to illness, fatigue, or other factors. It's crucial to listen to your body and make the responsible decision to skip the ride when you're not feeling your best. Don’t push yourself beyond your capabilities. Know your limits and stay within them. Ignoring physical cues can lead to accidents and injuries. Always carry water and stay hydrated throughout your cycling session.

Practical safety tips - bring ID, cash, spare, energy bar and always carry water to stay hydrated throughout your cycling session.

Indoor vs. outdoor

Cycling outdoors is amazing, and most of us here at ROUVY are keen outdoor cyclists in the summer season. The Norwegian word friluftsliv perfectly captures that desire to connect with the outdoors and nature.

Why Consider Indoor Cycling?

But although nothing beats the feel of the sun and wind in your face as you're cycling outdoors through beautiful scenery, sometimes there are reasons for cycling indoors too, such as wanting to exercise in a safe environment. Weather, lack of daylight, recuperation from injury or the desire to ride somewhere different are all valid motives for riding on a trainer at home. Having the peace of mind of riding in a safe, controlled environment is also an increasingly important reason.

The Advantages of Indoor Cycling

If you’re more comfortable cycling indoors, there are still plenty of benefits to keep you fit and motivated. Modern technology now allows cyclists to have an authentic riding experience from the comfort of their own home and smart trainers are able to simulate gradients. ROUVY's indoor cycling app provides a realistic experience using real video routes that feels as close as possible to the real thing - without the hazards. Indoor cycling provides a lower risk of accidents since there are no cars, potholes or other outdoor hazards. You can also choose your preferred routes, cycling duration and be in control of your environment. Plus you get to listen to your cycling music playlist at full volume or watch your favourite film!

Find Your Perfect Cycling Session

This video explains all the route search options in the app, as well as the different ways you can ride a route, race or ride in a group.

Key Benefits of Indoor Cycling

Three key reasons why indoor cycling could minimize or stop some of the risks of outdoor cycling are:

You have no risk of collisions with other vehicles. This makes indoor cycling a safer option than riding outdoors in heavy traffic or in areas where cars, buses, and trucks pass frequently.

Indoor cycling helps you maintain a constant exercise regime, depending on your fitness and goals. This helps build up your strength and get the most benefit out of your cycling routine. It's easy to commit to a training plan or workout on a trainer and there are several to choose from to fit your needs.

You don’t need to worry about the weather. When you cycle indoors, you can avoid the hazardous road conditions that come with bad weather conditions like wind, rain, and snow. You can stay comfortably inside and still enjoy the full benefits of your ride without worrying about your safety.

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Bike safety is essential for anyone who wants to get out there on two wheels... and get home in one piece. It requires a serious commitment to personal safety, but also to the safety of others. Remember to always prioritize your well-being and follow the safety guidelines mentioned above, whether you choose to ride outdoors or indoors. Cycling is a fun and healthy activity, but it can also be dangerous if proper safety measures aren’t taken. Stay safe, be aware of your surroundings, and always cycle with caution!

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