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Stay safe cycling during COVID-19 lockdown

Since lockdown began, many of us have been adapting to find safe ways to carry out essential travel, and new ways of keeping fit without access to the gym, and it seems that many have turned to their bicycles. Sport England’s research has shown that the proportion of people cycling during the lockdown has doubled from 8% to 16%.

As lockdown restrictions are beginning to ease, those who cannot work from home are being encouraged back to work. Rather than risking public transport or using a car many are turning to cycling as a way of travelling.

Cyclists are one of the most vulnerable road users and with the increase in the number of cyclists taking to their bikes, it is important to take measures to keep safe on the road.

What extra safety measures have been put in place during lockdown?

Certain additional measures are being put in place to encourage people to cycle during lockdown, in particular:

  • Temporary barriers are being added to make more space for cyclists on main roads.
  • Some Local Authorities are introducing Pop-up cycle lanes.
  • From 22nd June Local Authorities will have new powers to use CCTV to issue penalty charge notices to drivers parked illegally in cycle lanes. It is hoped that this will allow cyclists to more easily complete their journey without deviating from their path.

Top Tips for staying safe on the road

  • Make sure your bicycle is well maintained and safe to ride before setting off. Check the tyres and brake pads regularly and carry out maintenance if needed.
  • Be seen! Wear a cycle helmet and bright, reflective clothing. Make sure lights are fitted to your bicycle if you will be cycling in the dark.
  • Respect the rules of the road. Obey traffic signals and lights, and signal clearly before turning.
  • Do not cycle on the pavement unless in a designated cycle path.
  • Keep a good distance from parked cars – be cautious of doors that may open in your path.
  • Beware of blind spots, particularly on larger vehicles; they may not be able to see you.
  • Plan your route before you set off. Consider riding at times when roads are less busy
    and stick to cycle lanes where possible.

Familiarise yourself with The Highway Code

All road users have a responsibility towards each other to drive safely and considerately and need to be aware of the Highway Code. Many of the rules in the Highway Code are legal requirements, and if you disobey these mandatory rules you are committing an offence.

You can find a full version of The Highway Code here.

If you are involved in a road traffic accident

Accidents can happen when cycling on the road, and if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident it is important that you know what to do. Make sure you have your phone with you to call for help; you may need to call for an ambulance or for a friend or family member to assist you, and you should report the accident to the police.

If you are able to, you should obtain the full name, address and telephone number of the driver involved, together with the vehicle registration number and the insurance details. If there were any witnesses, take a note of their details too. It is also advisable to take photos of the accident scene, the vehicles and your bicycle before they are moved as evidence of what has happened.