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Bike smart

Bike smart

Cycling is a great workout, it's fun, it's sustainable, but is it safe?

The answer is - it can be, but you need to be smart about how to ride on the open road and how you take care of yourself and your bike.

Follow our bike riding tips and stay safe and secure whenever you're out on your wheels.

Sensing danger

The most common causes of bicycle accidents on the road are:

  • A car pulling out of a side-street without warning
  • A driver or rear passenger door opening suddenly
  • A driver turning suddenly at a junction
  • Getting clipped from behind after making an evasive manoeuvre
  • Riding into a blind spot at a junction and colliding with a car

While many of the accidents that occur in the above scenarios are the fault of the car driver, you can avoid getting hit by constantly looking out for danger spots when you're out on a ride. 

Urban riding takes a great deal of patience and discipline.

Always be on your guard and be aware of what's around you; don’t rely on other road users to see you.

Since March 2016 the road rules have changed in NSW to help keep cyclists safer on roads.

Read more about these new rules here.

Know the rules of the road 

Penalties and laws vary in states and territories.

In some areas you may be fined for not wearing a helmet, while in others you're required to carry identification at all times.

In Western Australia, it's illegal for cyclists of any age to ride on the pavement, while other authorities may allow cyclists under the age of 16 to do so.

Nick Anderson is the Assistant Police Commissioner for traffic and emergency response in Western Australia.

He underlined the need for respect and responsibility from all road users.

“It's important that the relationship between different road users becomes better developed and better understood on both sides. That goes both ways.”

Get acquainted with the rules and laws that govern cyclists wherever you are, and remember that they're there to keep you and other road users safe.

Wear a helmet

A cycling helmet is a vital piece of kit, and one which could save your life.

A US study from 2013 found that wearing bicycle helmets reduced the risk of a severe head injury by up to 74% in the event of a collision with a motor vehicle.

And if the safety angle is not enough - consider that you can be fined up to $319 dollars for not wearing one in certain states.

So always wear an approved helmet that's fitted and fastened correctly and store your helmet in a safe place when you're not using it.

If the helmet takes a major knock, replace it immediately. 

Take care of your bike

A responsible rider treats his or her bike as an extension of themselves, getting used to the way it handles on the road and understanding its limitations.

With this in mind, you need to make sure your bike is always in safe condition, with brakes and lights in good working order.

Looking after your bicycle in this way can also help to reduce your bike insurance.

Watch for changing road conditions

Be aware of conditions on the road!

Road cyclist Jason Hardy was filming a routine road ride at Byron Bay when his friend Anthony hit a piece of metal and flipped over his handlebars - turning his 50kmph freeway ride upside down.

Fortunately, Anthony was relatively unharmed but this underlines the dangers road cyclists face.

The road is not a closed, controlled environment and you always need to keep your wits about you.

Be seen at night

Cycling at night means limited visibility and you need to be seen by everyone around you.

This means using hi-vis jackets, fluorescent strips, front and rear lights and LEDs to advertise your presence and your position to those around you.

Additionally you will need to be aware of the change in perception that dark conditions can cause.

At night or in times of heavy fog or rain, it can be difficult to judge the speed of an object travelling towards you or how far away it is.

Always drive cautiously in bad conditions.

 

 

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