Cycling To Work Guide: 4 Essential Equipment To Stay Safe For Your Ride


Cycling to work is one of the easiest ways of fitting exercise into your day. It will also save you money on petrol or public transport costs.

If you don’t have a bike, you may be able to get a cheap bike through the Cycle to Work scheme. If you live in the Greater London area, you could use the available Cycle Hire services.

If you have an old bike that’s been gathering dust, consider having it serviced at a specialist bike shop to ensure it’s roadworthy before taking it out for a spin.

Cycling to Work – How to stay safe on your commute?

If you cycle to and from work, it is important to stay safe even on routes you travel every day. Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Look behind you before you turn, overtake or stop.
  • Use arm signals before you turn right or left.
  • Obey traffic lights and road signs.
  • Don’t ride on the pavement unless there’s a sign that says you can.
  • On busy or narrow roads, don’t cycle next to another person.
  • When overtaking parked cars, watch out for car doors opening suddenly and allow room to pass safely.
  • Don’t use headphones while cycling.
  • Never use a mobile phone while cycling.

Cycling Helmets

Wearing a cycling helmet can help prevent a head injury if you fall from your bike.

It’s important to wear a helmet that meets the following criteria:

  • It is marked as meeting the British Standard (BS EN 1078:1997).
  • It is a snug fit and positioned squarely on your head. It should sit just above your eyebrows, not tilted back or tipped forwards.
  • It is securely fastened by straps, which aren’t twisted, with only enough room for two fingers between your chin and the strap.
  • Make sure you replace your helmet every five years. Don’t buy a second-hand helmet – it may be damaged and may not protect you properly.

Lights And Reflectors

If you use your bike at night or when visibility is poor, it is compulsory to have:

  • a white front light
  • a red rear light
  • a red rear reflector
  • amber/yellow pedal reflectors – front and back on each pedal

Reflectors fitted to the front and the spokes will also help you be seen.

You can get lights that are steady or flashing or a mixture (steady at the front and flashing at the back). A steady light at the front is important when you’re cycling through areas without good street lighting.

Check that any steady light has the BS 6102-3 mark on it. Flashing lights don’t have to meet the British Standard but they do need to:

  • flash at a rate of one to four equal flashes per second
  • be at least four candelas in brightness

Your pedal reflectors and rear reflector must be marked with BS 6102-2. You can also use a light or reflector that meets a standard accepted by another European Commission (EC) country (equal to the British Standard).

Additional Lights

You can use other lights as well as the compulsory ones, but they must:

  • be the right colour – white at the front, red at the back
  • not dazzle other road users
  • If they are flashing, it must be at a rate of one to four equal flashes per second.

Locks

It is important to invest in high quality equipment to keep your bike safe.

Be sure to check the details of your insurance policy when buying a lock. Some insurers will not cover loss or theft of a bicycle unless it is secured with a pre-approved lock from select manufacturers.

Only secure your bike to a cycle stand or other immovable object.

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