How to stay safe when going out cycling

Cyclist on Chester Road in Stretford: image Darren Marsden

Cycling is one of the most popular ways to travel, it is good for your health and helps clean up the environment.

Sadly we have seen a couple of cyclist deaths on Trafford’s roads of late and only yesterday we reported on a 27-year-old man who is now fighting for his life after colliding with a truck in Trafford Park.

Whilst we do not know how these people came to crash, we can all stay safer whilst out cycling and this is your ultimate guide.

Always wear a helmet, no matter what people say a helmet can save your life, for every time I have crashed the first thing that has hit the unforgiving tarmac is my head and each time my helmet saved me! so wear one!

Make sure your bike is working order, check brakes and gears are working, check the chain, and tighten up anything that has come a little bit loose, check headset and handlebars, check your seat pin, remember not to over tighten.

Make sure your tyres are pumped up, 100psi for a road bike and around 40psi for a mountain bike, the choice of tyres are also important for safety, if you go out on slicks on a damp surface you are asking for trouble more so on a road bike, make sure your tyres have some cornering grip, this will also help with aerodynamics.

Wear brighter colours if you can even during the day, you do not have to but it helps motorists to see you better, it will also help if a motorist hits you with a claim.

If you wear cycle shoes, most important to remember not to be wearing cheap stuff, make sure your cleats are cleaned and the shoes fit you well, if you are wearing trainers which many do, then make sure your shoe lace is tight, if your shoe lace gets caught in your chain you have only a few seconds before hitting the ground, if this happens brake slowly and try and find a spot to fall down where you cannot get injured as much then take off the shoe and untangle everything.

So now you are set, go out with no headphones on and don’t forget a bottle of drink!

Once your cycling keep cycling, do not start looking around behind you, just look ahead keep your eyes peeled but relax like your on cruise control, enjoy the ride stop at every light, use your arms to indicate every turn, if a cyclists is behind you indicate when you see a pothole by pointing downwards.

Just because you are in a cycle lane does not mean your any safer, so keep aware still no matter what, do not go down the side of say a coach or a huge LGV or even a bus when space has become next to nothing, even in a cycle lane your chances of being knocked down are now far greater since often the driver will not see you.

Let HGVs and buses through then get on your way, if they turn at a junction and your way to close to them and the driver has not yet seen you well you can say a big hello to the ICU at a local hospital, just wait let them pass and then get on your way.

Country Lanes are as dangerous as the normal roads, speeds are often around 60mph, Sinderland Lane is a race track and a cyclist has to pay full attention and not drift off to somewhere else in the mind, even when no traffic is present things can happen in blink of an eye!

If you ever get spooked and lets face we all have, keep calm and if it is safe to do so stop cycling and get off the bike and have a drink, a lot of people continue however they are now not enjoying cycling and could further have another crash down the road due to looking around more rather than cycling, this is very dangerous.

If you follow this advice you will find your safety has increased and you will enjoy your cycling.

Trafford Council has now helped cyclists by creating coned off cycle lanes, we have since proven that they are not as safe as people might think although we welcome any help to keep cyclists safer in Trafford.

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