28 Jan 2013

Surviving Cycling in London

Sensing a theme to the clothing....

 Anyone who's been cycling in London (or any other big city) knows it can be a nerve wrecking experience. After two years cycling in London, and one year in Bristol, I've found the following 'rules' help a lot:

  1. Be visible! Wear bright clothes, high vis gear and proper lights. If your fellow road users can see you life on the road becomes a lot safer.
  2. Follow the rules! It might sound obvious, but a lot of cyclists seem to think that some rules don't apply to them. If you want the same rights, then you have to follow the same rules.
  3. Take the (quieter) back roads! Trust me, Euston road during rush hour is a scary story. If you're commuting on your bike, map out your route on the quieter roads and save yourself from a fair few close encounters.
  4. Be vigilant! Motorists in London are notorious for not indicating (or indicating really late) when turning left, or before pulling out from the side. Not to mention black cabs and buses don't seem to notice anyone on a bike.
  5. Cycle 1/3 out in the road! This forces the cars to properly overtake you, and not try and sneak past you where it's really too tight. Claim your space on the road.
  6. Travel outside of rush hour! I know it can be hard, as a lot of people cycle to and from work, but cycling on quieter times is way more pleasant than cycling in rush hour.
  7. Don't pass buses/lorries/HGV's on the inside! They can't see you, but they can crush you.
  8. Make sure your equipment is safe! Wear a god helmet, make sure your tyres are in good condition, check your breaks regularly etc.
  9. Use your arms! Signal where you're going by using your hands/arms, so that fellow road users know where you're going.
  10. Err on the side of caution! It's better that your ride takes 5 minutes longer than that you risk your life...and for heaven's sake, don't cycle with headphones!

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