Tips for staying safe when out on your bike this winter
It’s that time of year where the hours of daylight are getting shorter, making it increasingly important to stay safe when out on your bike, especially if you are a commuter. Chances are if you cycle to work then you either set off in the dark in the morning or at least ride home in the dark – maybe even both. Here are some safety tips for cycling in the dark:
- Bike Lights are a legal requirement
Did you know that you are legally required to have a white front light, and red rear light on your bike when riding after sunset?
Legal requirements include White front light, Red rear light, red rear reflector, amber pedal reflectors
This is mentioned in the Highway Code, Rule 60 which states:
“At night your cycle MUST have white front and red rear lights lit. It MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1/10/85). White front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen.”
While these are the minimum legal requirements, making yourself as visible as possible is always recommended. Failure to adhere to these minimum requirements can result in any after-dark accidents being ruled as negligence on part of the rider.
Looking for new bike lights? Shop our bike light range here.
- Hi Viz / Reflective Clothing
Autumn/Winter cycling isn’t a place to let ‘cool’ make your decisions, while people often gravitate towards dark colours in outdoorwear, it’s those vibrant and hi viz colours that will help to keep you safer when you’re out on the roads through darker months.
The good news is, that Hi-Viz is so much more than a day-glow tabbard these days. You can pick up brightly coloured jackets, jerseys, helmets, rucksack covers, reflective bands and more so you can grab whatever suits you as a rider.
Shop our Hi-Viz cycling range now
- Give yourself the best possible chance to be seen
Brightly coloured clothing and lights are fantastic for safety, but there is still a chance that some road users may not see you. The best way to keep yourself safe to be proactive and not rely on the sight of others.
- Change your road position, move out a little further when passing a junction to give yourself a better view, and the driver more chance to see you. Look for eye contact with other road users to ensure they’ve seen you. Taking up more of the road may not be popular with some drivers, but safety is paramount.
- Make sure your signals are visible. Bright coloured gloves come in handy for indicating your turns. While a drive may see your Hi-Viz vest, they may not see your black glove directing your left turn.
- Beware of turning vehicles. A lot of collisions occur when a cyclist is riding alongside a vehicle which is turning left. Even if the vehicle is not indicating, it’s always best to be cautious in these situations, don’t try and swiftly undertake them as the chances are, they won’t gage your speed correctly and you’ll soon find yourself pushed off the road. Hang back a little, as they pass the junction – proceed as you were.
- Always follow the Highway Code, observing stop and give way signs, and it shouldn’t need to be said – but make sure you stop at red lights.
CyclingUK offers up some great visual advice for passing junctions and parked cars here.
If you’re unclear on the Highway Code for cyclists, then you can check the official rules here.