Cycling can be a great way to get around and a brilliant form of exercise, but it can also be daunting for new cyclists at first when it comes to cycling in traffic. Practice makes perfect, but there are also a few key areas to learn about that should help you to start riding with confidence as a beginner.
Positioning On the Road
Road positioning is one of the key aspects that you need to know about before cycling in traffic. As a vulnerable road user, you may be tempted to veer over to the curb, but this is a common beginner error and actually quite dangerous. When you are too close to the side of the road, you are less visible, you do not have much space if someone tries to overtake and you are at risk of objects like drain covers, potholes and debris.
Instead, try to keep a strong central position in your lane so that drivers will not attempt to overtake you. When travelling at speed, you can veer slightly to the side so that cars can overtake but you still have space to move into.
Anticipation & Signaling
As a vulnerable road user, you need to focus at all times while cycling in traffic. This will involve constantly being aware of what is happening around you and anticipating potential dangers, such as pedestrians crossing, opening of parked car doors or drivers that are on their phone. You also need to make sure that your signals are strong, clear and made early. If possible, try to make eye contact with motorists before making a turn to be sure that they have definitely seen you.
Leading on from this, you should also always wear high-visibility gear and not just at night. Cyclists are not always easy to spot as a motorist, so you need to do all that you can to stand out. In addition to checking your lights (legal requirement), you should also wear a reflective jacket along with safety gear. If you are ever in an accident that was not your fault, you should speak with personal injury solicitors that will help you to make a claim.
It is then a case of building confidence in traffic, which is best achieved with regular practice. You might find it helpful to cycle with someone that is experienced and you feel comfortable with and to plan/know your route in advance.
This guide should help any beginner cyclist to start riding in traffic safely and build confidence over time. Cycling is a great way to get around, but it can be daunting at first as a vulnerable road user which is why you need to know how to ride safely and with confidence.