Road Safety Tips for Long Distance Cycling Journeys
While you are on a long distance cycling trip, such as a London to Paris charity bike ride, it is important to understand the basics of road safety so that you can avoid accidents. When you are riding close to vehicles on the road, as a cyclist you are much more at risk than the driver. An enormous capsule of metal will protect them in an accident, whereas you have not much to shield you in the event of a crash.
Here are some important tips that you should keep in mind when you are riding your bike on a long distance cycling trip:
It is crucial to pay 100 percent attention and use all of your senses while you are cycling. Don’t listen to music on your headphones during a bike ride – always keep your ears and eyes tuned to what is happening around you. When you are paying attention you will be able to react more quickly – and in some situations those quick reactions can really make a big difference.
Choose the Best Route
Plan your long distance bike ride so that you are on the roads that have no blind corners, a large shoulder, few cars and low speed limits. Sometimes this might mean taking the slightly longer route, but it will be a lot safer.
Never Ride Against Traffic
You might think that riding against traffic is a good idea, because you will be able to see the cars that are passing you. However, it can be very dangerous. Cars can pull out of cross streets, parking lots and driveways and they will not be expecting traffic to be coming at them from the other way. They might not see you, which means that they can crash right into you. Statistics have shown that 25% of cyclists who ride the wrong way get in accidents.
Ride as If You Are Invisible
A general rule that cyclists use when they are sharing the roadway with cars is to ride in such a way that the motorists would not hit you even if they didn’t see you. If you are riding in a way that means that the car has to see you to avoid hitting you, then there is a good chance that they will hit you if they don’t see you. However, if you stay out of the way completely then you won’t run the risk – even if the car doesn’t notice you.
Of course, you should simply be acting as if you are invisible – not trying to make yourself invisible. Make sure that you make yourself as visible as possible – with reflecting cycling clothing and plenty of lights on your bicycle. The more visible you are the safer you will be, especially at night.
Obey the Traffic Laws
Following the laws of traffic is important, because it is a way of predicting the behaviour of others. If people could just drive their cars in any which way, there would be a lot of accidents because we would never be able to predict how other people will drive. Some cyclists feel like the traffic laws do not apply to them, but this is not true. It is important for cyclists to follow the laws, so that they can keep themselves and others safe while on the road.
Adjusting to Riding on the Other Side of the Road
One of the challenging aspects of a London to Paris cycle trip is adjusting to riding on the other side of the road. In England cars drive on the left side, but in France they drive on the right. It can take some time to get used to riding on a different side. Essentially, all of your bike riding behaviours have to be flipped in a mirror image. Take your time and pay extra attention, as it is easy to make mistakes such as turning the wrong way, riding on the wrong side or looking the wrong way before crossing an intersection. It takes a while to get used to riding on the other side, so you will need to be extra vigilant!
These are just a few important tips that you should keep in mind when you are heading out on a long distance cycling ride, especially for charity challenge events. Riding on the road with vehicles can be challenging, but if you are careful and you take extra precautions you will be able to navigate traffic safely.