Top Tips for safe cycling in the city – Spring 2021

The UK is in the middle of a cycling boom. The number of riders has increased by around 70% since last March, and bike sales have soared. And with public transport off-limits to most people, many towns and cities are making their streets better for walking and biking.

There’s never been a better time to start cycling, but it can be confusing for beginners. If you’re wondering how to cycle safely or how to safely park your bike, this guide is for you.

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1) Make sure you have the right gear

This isn’t about fashion, and it doesn’t need to be expensive or designer labels, but having some of the right basic cycling gear will make your cycle safer and more comfortable. A good helmet is a must, and something worth spending a bit of money on. You will also need bright clothing (it could be a jacket or an over-vest) that can be seen in the day and night-time. Another thing worth getting for your bike is the bell. Having a bell that can be heard is essential when warning people.

2) Lights

Did you know that it is illegal to ride your bike at night without lights? This is especially important when cycling in winter when days are very short and dark.  Even if only at dusk, or on miserable days, having bright lights will help you to be seen. Good quality lights can be picked up affordably online and make sure you get a set for the front and back. You can even get jackets and helmets with in-built lights if you want even more visibility.

3) Make sure your bike is in good condition

It is worth getting your bike serviced and checked before taking it out on busy roads. You can also do it yourself by taking your bike to the nearest Public Bike Pump and Repair Stand where you can easily and quickly carry small fixes. 

4) Plan your route

What is a good route in a car, may not be a good route on a bike, so take time (when you don’t have the pressure of a commute) to check out your route. Most cities and towns have cycle lanes and cycle paths, but these aren’t always consistent for the whole journey. If you are not sure, your local council’s website could have information on cycle routes in your area.

If you are unsure about using busy roads, see if there is an alternative route taking smaller roads.

5) Be confident you can cover the distance

It can be difficult to know if the distance you are planning to cycle is something that is doable. As a rough guide, most people can cover about 5 miles in half an hour, but it does depend on the terrain (hills you didn’t know existed will be felt when on a bike). Either break your journey so you are just doing part of it on your bike, many people are now using their cycle to get to a train station, or build up the distance over time. And make sure you allow yourself enough time so you aren’t rushing, which at best will see you arrive in a sweaty mess and at worst could cause you to make judgements that could affect your safety.

6) Stay aware

Potholes are inconvenient to motorists but disastrous for cyclists, so make sure, even if you are doing a route you have done many times before, you keep aware of the road and any obstacles or hazards such as potholes and debris.

7) Watch out for car doors

Unfortunately, motorists may not check to see if a bike is coming before they open their car door and this can result in the cyclist being ‘doored’. Again, be very aware if you see a car park up that they may open their door without checking properly.

8) Get a good bike lock

If you are using your bike as part of your commute you will need to park your bike somewhere, so make sure you have a good quality D lock and you use it to lock to the frame and wheel.

9) Make sure you have somewhere safe to park your bike

Having a lock is one thing, but there are other things to consider when leaving your cycle. Look out for specific cycle parking areas and facilities where you can leave your bike. Most rail stations now have dedicated cycle parking facilities, with many operating cycle hubs that provide secure, access, controlled parking.

Consider things such as the time you will be collecting your bike, and make sure it has been lefts somewhere that is not only safe for your bike but also safe for you. Look out for cycle parking in a public place that is well lit, possible has CCTV and you feel safe in going to.

The Most Innovative Bike Parking Solutions

At a time in which cities need to be more adaptable to account for population growth, cycling is becoming an obvious commuting choice more than ever. However, where can you confidently park your bicycle knowing it won’t be stolen or damaged by weather? Unsurprisingly, bike-friendly countries like the Netherlands and Japan are making innovative bicycle garages a reality. And fortunately, other countries are catching on.

Some cities have been fantastic in realising and actioning the need for innovative cycle storage. Instead of building multi-plex carparks, they are making inventive multi-storey bike garages and easily accessible stands more readily available. For those of us who do get around by bike, there’s nothing more frustrating than attempting to squeeze your bike into an already over-crowded parking space, which is 200m away from the entrance of your local train station, grocery store or office building. Parked bicycles can also become a hazard to pedestrians, particularly when a row of them collapses like dominos or when a cyclist carelessly parks in the middle of the sidewalk.

Without the support and convenience of bike parking, cyclists can quickly feel discouraged from using their preferred method of transportation – even though cycling is economically and environmentally a superior option. That’s one of the reasons, our team at Bike Dock Solutions is so passionate about bicycle storage and bike parking solutions.

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