Some simple tips to make cycling safer

Intro

Roads have become less and less safe for cyclists in recent years, so the topic here explained has become priority when it comes to sustainable mobility.
Despite the large number of advantages given by the use of the bicycle for daily commuting, both on physical health side and on the protection of the environment one, the road risk factor is still a great deterrent against mass adoption of this type of mobility.

As cyclists we tend to blame the cars for the dangerousness of riding in traffic, blaming the distraction and the arrogance of the drivers.
But what we can do as weak road users to make ourselves safer?

Passive safety

“Passive safety” represents cyclist's self-protection.
Being equipped with the right material and the appropriate tools is important to make yourself visible to other road users and to protect delicate body parts from injuries.

Using the right clothing colours will help make the cyclist visible from the cars up to 130 meters away. For the latter reason it is advisable to dress in a prevalent green, white or yellow colour. These colours, in ideal weather condition, are visible from a car moving at a speed of 50km / h from 130 meters, 55 meters and 37 meters respectively.

Matching the right clothing with the use of lights, especially rear lights, will exponentially increase the distance from which you will be visible to the cars.
Thanks to the new radar lighting technologies the level of safety has reached a level never reached before. This kind of lights allows visibility up to 1.6 kilometres and a scanning angle of 220 degrees.

Protecting your body's exposed weak spots is another key point to consider when cycling.
Although there aren’t rules that impose the use of protection when riding your bike it is important to wear the protective helmet, the appropriate gloves and the technical clothes even for the shortest ride.

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Behaviours

In addition to passive safety there are some behaviours that should be considered when cycling on the road.

Riding in a group when possible will force drivers to calculate their overtakes very accurately, making these manoeuvres less dangerous. Along the city-centres and when the traffic situation allows it, proceeding in pairs will make you even more visible.
If you ride alone it is important to keep an adequate distance from the right lane.
This will force drivers to use more space to overtake, forcing them not to underestimate it and make it a studied action even if you are alone. Riding like this will also help to you avoid any dirt on the road surface and will protect you from slight skids caused by the wind or potholes.

Cycle paths represent a mobility safety addition even if they are often occupied by pedestrians or continuously interrupted by dangerous side road crossings.
For this reason it is not advisable to use them massive, but only when they guarantee greater safety than the road alongside.

Mutual Respect

Respect the drivers by avoiding stressful situations between road users that could lead to unpleasant conflits.
The fact that the bicycle is an agile way to pass through the traffic does not authorize the violation of the basic road code rules.
Stopping at the stops, respecting the traffic lights, not overtake on the right side, avoiding slalom between the cars in the column and proceeding in pairs without occupying more space than needed.
The latter are simple rules that if respected will allow you to ride peacefully on the road.

Using your arms, hands and voice to warn those around you of any kind of road obstacle, turn or sudden movement is important to communicate and prevent every of your move on the road.
It is imperative to proceed with your hands free from smartphones or other devices as well as avoiding the use of headphones for music.

Conclusion

Riding safely is possible.
While it is up to the public administrations to create a bike friendly urban environment alongside a courses program aimed to the protection of weak road users, on the other side each of us cyclists can start by doing their part.

Respect yourself and others, do your part and follow these simple recommendations while enjoying your rides!

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