Cycle Safety Awareness

Growing up, I spent much of my time riding my bike.  As I lived in a very small village, I enjoyed cycling to see friends as well as cycling around my Granddad’s farm with my cousins.  I used to love going for a bike ride down the grassy old railway tracks and generally cycling down quiet roads, enjoying the views of the countryside.  Recently, all of these memories have come flooding back as we are trying to encourage my son to ride his bike more.  Presently, we live in a town and although it is a relatively small town, it is much busier than the little village where, guided by my parents, I learnt how to ride my bicycle safely.  My boyfriend often goes on long bike rides at the weekends and after work and is used to cycling in this area.  However, I have not been on a bicycle (apart from at the gym, which doesn’t count in this instance!) since I was a teenager.  I think that it is important to teach children from a young age about the rules of the road to keep them as safe as possible.

Being Aware of Cycle Safety

When reading statistics from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, it says that, “Every year in the UK, approximately 19,000 cyclists are killed or injured in reported road accidents.”  In 2012, the Think! Campaign reported an increase in injuries to cyclists, where 92% of these accidents involved another vehicle.  I am quite mindful of these statistics as I know the road can be a dangerous place for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.  As a parent, I think that it is very important to set a good example to my children about cycle safety.  As it is a long time since the last time I rode on a bicycle, I have found that some things have slipped my mind.  My boyfriend still uses his bike regularly so he often gives my son tips on keeping safe.

Cycle Safety Tips from Eversure

Eversure have lots of safety tips for cyclists of all ages and these have helped me to discuss road safety with my son.  Here they are:

 If you’re having to cycle on the road (but still good to teach kids at a young age):

·         You should never ride more than two abreast – the safest way to ride as a family is with your children IN FRONT, and you behind. Let your children cycle about a meter out from the curb, and with you following behind, slightly further out. This way, you can give instructions, and create space between traffic and your children. If mum and dad are both out, have one parent head up the front too.

·         Always cycle with traffic, on the correct side of the road, never cycle into traffic, even if the roads are quiet.

·         Don’t cycle on the pavement (unless marked for cyclists)

·         Always have front (white) and rear (red) lights fitted to your bike, and check that these work before setting off.

·         Consider fitting a bike horn or bell to alert road users to your presence – you can get specialist electronic horns that can cut through most background noise (most kids prefer a bell though!)

·         You should wear light coloured clothes / hi vis / reflective clothing always when cycling in low visibility, not just at night

·         Don’t overload a rucksack or backpack, you could reduce your ability to maintain your balance.

·         Ride predictably, decisively, in a straight line, and well clear of the kerb

·         Always look and signal clearly – you can get electronic signals reasonably cheaply

·         Don’t use a mobile phone or earphones

·         Wear a properly fitting crash helmet.

·         Make eye contact where possible so you know drivers have seen you

·         Riding on the road is scary, consider getting your kids confident and trained young with http://bikeability.dft.gov.uk/ or similar scheme.

If you’re playing out in the street / close / garages / park / woods / to and from school:

·         Be aware of traffic that might be pulling into, or out of driveways

·         Teach your child how to cross the road safely (or forbid them from crossing the road without you)

·         Keep children seen with light coloured clothing, and hi vis in low light conditions

·         Make sure your children have a set time to report in, if you can’t stand and watch them play (great for learning to tell the time too!)

·         Set your child boundaries or milestones (they can go as far as that lamp post, that tree etc or no further than where the line of sight disappears) so they know not to run off ahead too far

My son’s school do a course for Bikeability in Year 5 so I will certainly encourage him to take part in this when he is old enough.  I remember doing the course (I think it was called Bikewise back then) when I was in Year 5 and it helped me a lot.

Eversure kindly also sent my friend a high visibility vest and a cycle light that he promptly put on the back of his helmet.  He said that he felt much safer, especially with the extra light.  He often cycles when it is dark plus on the first night he wore this light, it was also foggy so he was extremely pleased with it.  It is very important to be seen when you are a cyclist, both day and night.

Safety Gear
Eversure kindly sent a high visibility vest and red light for keeping safe on the bicycle

 

Cycle safety vest and light
My boyfriend using the high visibility vest and the red light on his helmet

My son is very keen to wear his high visibility vest and makes sure he wears his helmet every time he goes out on his bike.  He has also started putting it on when he rides his scooter to school too!  I think that setting a good example by showing my children that adults also wear safety gear when using the roads, makes a big difference as to whether they do it themselves.  I hope that my son grows up to have as many happy memories of cycling as I have.

Disclosure: I was sent a high visibility vest and a red light from Eversure to write this cycle safety post.  All opinions are honest and my own.

 

  • I love cycling, we all went cycling as a family and also travelled to school via bike, it is very important to know the rules of safe riding, I am happy the schools are still doing them.

    • dillydrops

      Until recently, I’d forgotten how much I used to enjoy it. It sounds like you also cycled a lot when you were younger. I bet you had a great time cycling to school!

  • Great tips that i am sure to use when we are at this stage 🙂 x

    • dillydrops

      Thank you.

  • It’s so much more dangerous to cycle than it was when I was a child so it’s really important to think about safety – thank you!

    • dillydrops

      It certainly is! Very worrying but if children are aware and have the information about how to keep safe, they have more of a chance. Thank you.

  • mamaknowsbest2

    I used to love going out on my bike, Lincolnshire had very few hills though where as devon is full of them so I do struggle lol
    I’m not confident on the road and car drivers do drive too close sometimes. Great tips 🙂
    #BinkyLinky

    • dillydrops

      I’m not the best with hills either! I think car drivers need to be more aware too. Thank you!

  • I see so many bicycle riders that have no idea what unsafe riding they are doing. Hopefully, they find a blog like yours and can learn some safety tips. My Hubs and I are going to start riding our bikes as soon as the weather warms up

  • I’m not a massive fan of cycling, and where we live we have lots of cyclists who don’t seem to do any of those things – so,many ride on paths (one rode straight through a huge puddle splashing my toddler a few weeks ago!) And through red lights. I think it’s so important teaching the rules and safety from a young age.

    • dillydrops

      I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had a bad experience with cyclists lately. I hope your toddler is ok. I think some people need to learn how to be more considerate and I agree, teaching the rules from a young age is very important.

  • When I was a kid we went to a special place to do our cycling proficiency test- it had pretend roads , and even traffic lights. I still have my shiny pin badge for passing somewhere! I think it is important all kids learn about bike safety.

    • dillydrops

      It certainly is! Wow, that sounds like a great idea of a place to do your test.

  • I completely agree with all of this. My husband and I both cycle and make a point of wearing all the correct cycle gear. It makes me really cross when I see cyclists (especially parents) without helmets. As well as being insanely dangerous, it also sets a terrible example!

    • dillydrops

      The same here, it really winds me up. I’m glad to hear that you and your husband are keeping yourselves safe when cycling.

  • A great post about cycle safety awareness. I really do think that there should be some sort of compulsory test for cyclists before going on the roads, especially so in busy cities/towns.

    • dillydrops

      Yes, and it is only getting busier. I’ve seen some cyclists that are unaware of/disregard the rules of the road so a test would be a great idea.

  • dillydrops

    Maybe you could ask the school if they could run a course?x

  • dillydrops

    It is very worrying! I agree that sometimes it is hard for some drivers to see cyclists. I hope that your children have a safer area where they can cycle safely.

  • dillydrops

    That sounds like fun! Cycling is great 🙂 I hope that your little one enjoys it!

  • road safety in general is so, so important, and people of all ages need to be aware!

    • dillydrops

      Very true! I hope my post has been of some help 🙂

  • Great tips, 19,000 is a massive number to be killed or injured x

    • dillydrops

      I hope that they are of some use. The number is shocking, isn’t it? And they are just the ones that have been reported.

  • I remember doing my cycling proficiency at school. My 9yo should ve doing hos next year at school. Its great to point out these rules x

    • dillydrops

      I hope that your son has fun learning how to keep safe on his bike :-).

  • I don’t understand why any cyclist would not wear a high-vis vest, they make a huge difference

    • dillydrops

      You’d be surprised at how many don’t wear one or a helmet. I would say that all cyclists should make themselves as visible as possible to keep safe.

  • cassfrugalfamily

    Some very good tips – thanks for sharing x

    • dillydrops

      Thank you. I hope it was useful 🙂

  • Really useful info – my son recently got a bike so great timing to get this kind of info

    • dillydrops

      I’m glad it was of some use. I hope that your son has fun on his bike!

  • Very useful tips, we are a few years off this but I am pinning it for future reference. I would love to get my bike out again and love events such as the Skyride. My neighbour was a big bike racer type out on a Sunday morning, all the gear on except a helmet…..he was knocked off last Summer and sustained a head injury. He seems ok now but certainly was an awful time for his family.

    • dillydrops

      Thank you, I’m very glad that my post is of some help. I am very sorry to hear about your neighbour. I’m glad to hear that he is ok now though. I hope you are able to get back cycling. Enjoy!

  • Great tips. We are just getting to the point of looking at cycling safety lessons for the boys

    • dillydrops

      Thank you. I hope your boys enjoy their lessons about staying safe on the roads,:-).