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How to Avoid Road Accidents as a Cyclist

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 12 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Accident Cycling Bicycle Bike

With the number of cyclists on the road increasing, the likelihood of accidents involving cyclists will also increase. Many cyclists are forced to use main roads to get around as there aren't enough viable specific bicycle lanes.

This can cause frustration for not only the cyclist, but also for other road users who may see cyclists as an irritant. In order to stay safe on the road and avoid accidents there are a number of methods you should employ for safe cycling.

Avoiding Accidents by Dressing for Safety as a Cyclist

One of the most common reasons for an accident with a cyclist is that the vehicle driver involved simply 'didn't see the cyclist'. In many cases this is the fault of the individual driver, however in some cases, the cyclist isn't helping the situation. It's very important to always make sure you're as visible as possible when on a bike. Wear your safety helmet and ensure that it conforms to current safety standards.

Also, wear light-coloured or bright fluorescent clothing so that other road users are able to see you without a problem. If you can, attach some reflective clothing or accessories to you and your bike. This will give people a heightened chance of seeing you from a distance and they'll hopefully slow down or avoid you more easily.

Preparing Your Bike to Avoid Accidents

As your bike is an extension of yourself on the road, you should also do all you can to ensure that it is as visible as possible to other road users. At night, your cycle needs to have lights on it. You should have a white light at the front and a red light at the back. Your pedals must also have amber reflectors on them and the back of the bike should have a red reflector also.

If you can afford it, put extra reflectors on your cycle so that other drivers have a better chance of seeing you. The earlier they see you the sooner they can take action to avoid you, ensuring you'll stay safe on the road. You can fit white reflectors to your wheels or spokes and even use a flashing light if you think you need that also.

Know the Cycle Laws to Avoid Accidents

There are plenty of cycle laws that every cyclist should be aware of. These laws are there to keep you safe and hopefully to help you avoid an accident. One of the most important is that you must not cycle on a pavement. Some cyclists will ride on and off pavements to avoid traffic, but this can be dangerous. Drivers won't expect you to suddenly veer off the pavement onto the road and likewise pedestrians won't expect you to come off the road to cycle along the pavement.

Try and stick to marked cycle lanes at all time - this makes it safer for all road users. Cycle lanes are marked with a white line along the carriageway and sticking to those should keep you visible to others. If you do intend to move from the cycle tracks, always be fully vigilant of your surroundings. Make it clear that you're going to be changing direction.

Car drivers may not be paying as much attention to you as you are to them, so to avoid accidents, try to make sure they have seen you before you make your move. Naturally, to avoid accidents you should always be responsible on your cycle and never attempt to carry passengers or ride along single-handedly or without hands at all! Keep both hands on the handlebars unless signalling and always cycle single file.

Claiming Compensation for Personal Injury as a Cyclist

As a cyclist, you may be able to claim personal injury compensation if you're involved in an accident while out on your bike. You should contact a lawyer who deals specifically with compensation claims and who may be able to process your claim for you. Remember that personal injury claims need to be supported, so always obtain the details of the other party involved in the accident and any witnesses who are present.

Ultimately when it comes to cycling, there are always going to be dangers, but these can on the whole be avoided by following the safety laws governing cycling in the UK. Stay aware, watch out for unattentive drivers and be visible at all times. Hopefully if you follow these rules you'll have a long and safe cycling life.

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