Cycling Advice : Reducing Risk

Before you ride

If you are new to Club Rides make sure you introduce yourself to the ride Leader. On a Club ride if you are inexperienced it may be best to start at the back of the group with an established member. It is important that your bike is well maintained and roadworthy. Ensure that the brakes work the chain is lubricated and tyres are inflated with no major signs of wear. If you have anything battery powered make sure it is charged, this especially applies to eBikes, make sure they are fully charged before riding. Use of mudguards for winter rides is recommended. If you use cleats check their condition.

  • Bring a couple of spare inner tubes, tyre levers, a pump and a multi-tool
  • Lights, front and rear – even during daylight hours the weather can change
  • Money
  • Mobile phone with your emergency contact number stored on it
  • CE approved Helmet (perhaps with your name and emergency number taped inside)
  • Waterproof/windproof jacket, gloves, overshoes, layers can come off, no one likes to be cold.
  • A drink in a Bidon (waterbottle)
  • Snack
  • A form of ID
  • Eat before you ride
  • 3rd party liability insurance , Club membership will give you this.
  • Cycling specific sunglasses can be very helpful

When on the Road

Always, always, check the road especially behind before manoeuvring and changing road position. Other cyclists can be hard to hear and there are an increasing number of electric vehicles on the road which can emit little noise. This is especially true on cold rides when your ears may be covered. Riding using ear buds to listen to music will greatly reduce your awareness of traffic. Do not stop beside or undertake lorries and articulated vehicles.

Weather and road conditions are constantly changing so it is in your best interest to remain observant at all times. On any group ride it is important to make others aware of potential risks and look out for each other. Use lights if visibility is poor, some do on every ride.

Potholes, dropped / damaged drain covers/metalwork and loose surfaces on corners are a specific risk as we ride, so draw the other riders attention to them by pointing/waving and shout out if necessary. Puddles can contain potholes and large amounts of standing water can develop at the roadside, it is best to avoid these, point them out.

Road surfaces can be slippery when damp so exercise caution especially after fresh rain. Under these conditions white road markings can also have less grip as does metalwork and both of these are best avoided especially when cornering.

If traffic flow reduces, even blocking the road ahead requiring a change of speed, lead riders should initiate a call out to the group “slowing” or “stopping” as appropriate, while raising their arm above shoulder height as a signal to gain the groups attention. Parked vehicles may also be a hazard and lead riders should move to avoid them, while indicating their presence with an arm signal behind their back which following riders can then use themselves to the rest of the group. Vehicles will pass the group from either direction so if necessary call them out ( car up / car down ) to give everyone a warning. At junctions, look, taking time to evaluate the road and traffic conditions, stopping if necessary.

When riding single track country lanes, exercise caution, listen too, and be prepared to take avoiding action as a result of an oncoming vehicle. It is advisable to keep to the side of the road on blind bends to avoid a head-on collision, keep looking ahead and over hedges if possible. Pull over and make use of passing points if traffic is held up behind you .

Livestock regularly roam the hills in the area, some finding their way close to and onto the road. Riders on the front of the group should warn everyone of their presence while slowing down as their movement can be unpredictable. When you see a horse and rider ahead that you plan to overtake, to avoid startling the animal call out a warning well in advance ” bike passing” or something similar and also communicate as you get closer. Pass slowly allowing them plenty of room. Stay alert to the reaction of the horse and any communication from the rider.

Local councils have installed many traffic calming measures such as central islands, unfortunately these create “pinch points” where cyclists become vulnerable to overtaking vehicles. As a result it may be prudent to ride in the centre of the carriageway, this is referred to as “owning the road”. After establishing that it is safe to do so, take this action if the carriageway is too narrow to allow safe passing by following vehicles, Return back to your normal road position as soon as you are able.

If you suffer a puncture or mechanical issue shout out so the group can hear you and if possible find a safe place to stop getting off the road so you and the rest of the group aren’t causing an obstruction.

Don’t overlap your front wheel with the rear of the rider in front of you, It’s an easy way to have an accident. Ride at an even pace and avoid sudden changes of speed, accelerating or braking. If you are riding on the front of a group two abreast, keep level with the rider next to you (avoid half wheeling)

When descending, let the rider in front move away from you, braking yourself if required, and maintain a safe distance from them. This becomes more important on poor surfaces and if visibility is impaired. At all times you should ride at a speed where you are able to effectively control your bike.

Dismount and walk if road or traffic conditions make this the safest way to make progress.

Stay alert and be aware of rider positions all around you keeping your sideways movement to a minimum. If you need to change position in the group, signal in advance and tell the riders near you what you intend to do, ensure that you have the space to make your manoeuvre safely..

When eating or drinking only ride one handed when road conditions and the weather make it safe to do so. Potholes and gusts of wind can make bike control difficult.

Take care at level crossings, and tram tracks, always try to ride over them at 90 degrees (perpendicular). When wet they become treacherous and crossing at any other angle than perpendicular will very likely lead to an accident. Do NOT attempt to change direction while crossing them. The same advice applies to cattle grids.

Cycling clothing designed to aid visibility is available, wearing it is a personal choice as is not placing yourself in vulnerable situations. Ride Safe!

Accidents

In the event of an accident and serious injury, if the rider is in the road, taking great care, someone should warn approaching vehicles while at the same time only moving the injured person if NOT to do so would place them at risk of further injury.

If on a group ride make sure everyone moves out of the road

If the injured rider is immobile only move them if that is the advice of a First Aider, let them take control of the situation.

Decide on your location while calling the emergency services describing the injuries and let them advise you.

Remain calm and talk to the injured rider to aid keeping them conscious.

Any rider that has lost consciousness should NOT continue with the ride no matter how minor their injuries appear to be, stay with them until the emergency services arrive.

Notify the police if a vehicle is involved, it is the law.

Contact and notify family / emergency contact : Arrange storage / collection of any bike (s)

Any riders that have no good cause to stay at the scene should continue their journey.

Inform the Club Secretary asap, you can use the contact form if necessary.

After a ride

If your bike is wet and muddy now is probably the best time to clean it 🙂

Recharge eBikes and other battery powered kit. Check tyres for wear / damage.

This list is not all encompassing, but it should aid you to have a safer more enjoyable riding experience.