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Cyclist on City of London roadCycling is a great way to travel around the City - But remember to follow our advice for safer cycling

Cycling safety

Cycling is predominantly a social skill - it's about sharing space with other people. The hazards don't come from the roads but from other people. Once you understand this you are halfway to becoming a safe and more comfortable city rider.

It is easy to get infected by other road user's pushiness. One of the best things about city cycling is that you can travel reliably without getting in a panic. It is one of the most reliable, healthiest and entertaining way of getting around: smile and be courteous to other road users even when they aren't!

Craig's story 

Craig Dortkamp, an experienced cyclist, had never encountered any problems with other road users or suffered any accidents. But that all changed when Craig cycled through a red light in the City in May 2013.

Read Craig's story and watch his video highlighting​ the importance of cycling safely.​

Observation and assumption

The first rules of safe travel are to observe the urban horizon, and then remain calm when a car, truck, bus or pedestrian does the unexpected. Soon you'll be able to read the traffic confidently and you won't be surprised if a pram suddenly appears in your peripheral vision!

Visibility

It is statistically proven that nine out of ten drivers involved in fatal collisions with cyclist say they never saw them. Visibility, then, is vital, even during the day: according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, far fewer accidents occur at night. Therefore Reflective clothing is a great idea!

Position in the road

Drivers don't want to hit you, so if you make them aware of your existence they are more likely to respect your space. Your road position is your body language and safety margin, so ride far enough out from the kerb to avoid drain covers and nasty cambers; and allow at least a full door width's clearance between you and parked cars.

Eye-to-eye contact

Making eye contact with drivers as they try to shimmy in front of you at a junction should enable you to establish whether or not they have seen you. Often just looking into their eyes is enough to make a pedestrian or driver hesitate in making the particular manoeuvre that was about to cause you concern.

Smooth and assertive

This is not to say you should be jittery about the behaviour of London traffic, just more aware of it! Cyclists who ride nervously are more likely to be cut up or forced into compromising situations by other road users - remember that some drivers are more likely to bully a cyclist or pedestrian if everyone else is doing it.

The clearest example of this is creepage. Creepage is when the driver at the head of a road junction wants to pull out onto the street you are riding along. They're not going to ignore your approach and end up causing an accident; but equally they are in too much of a hurry to wait for you to pass. So the car creeps forward, nosing further out into your path as all the cars behind it consolidate the advantage, making reversing out of the question.

However, please remember there is a clear difference between riding aggressively and assertively.

9 things to watch out for:

  1. Black cabs swerving to the kerb to pick up/drop off passengers
  2. Pedestrians stepping out into the road without looking (and most of us do it on occasion)
  3. Passengers hopping off or on Routemaster buses without looking
  4. Vehicles turning left across you - even more serious if it is a bus or truck
  5. Car doors being opened into your path
  6. Vehicle creepage at junctions
  7. Delivery vehicles parked in cycle lanes
  8. Drivers failing to indicate properly leaving everyone guessing
  9. Vehicles doing impromptu U-turns.​


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