How to be super safe when cycling this Spring
With the 2018 Wiggle Amy's Gran Fondo just around the corner we are reminded just how important it is to be safe on the roads this spring and all year round.
The Amy Gillett Foundation was established in 2005 following the tragic death of Amy Gillett whilst on a training ride in Germany with the Australian Women's Cyling team.
Here are their top tips for staying safe and making the cycling community a better place for everyone:
Be Safe, Be Seen, Be Bright, Wear a Light
Being visible on the road is important for your safety. Whether you are commuting, training for Amy’s or just having fun, it’s important that other road users can see you.
This includes wearing light coloured clothing and reflective clothing, particularly if you are training in the early morning, in low-light conditions or at night.
Remember that you are required to have a white light at the front and a red light at the rear (plus a red reflector) when cycling at night or in hazardous weather.
We recommend using day-time visible lights at all times. Our friends at Wiggle can help kit you out with a range of lights and gear.
Respect the Local Road Environment
Be conscious of the road conditions and local environment where you are cycling.
In rural and regional locations, you are likely to encounter a range of road conditions, including poor road surfaces, unsealed shoulders, gravel, broken bitumen, potholes, poorly maintained markings and narrow, windy roads with poor sight lines.
It is unlikely that there will be dedicated cycling facilities such as marked bike lanes, and speed zones are likely to be higher.
It’s also important to be aware of local weather conditions – for example in the Great Ocean Road and Otway Region where Amy’s is held, fog, mist, low lying cloud and rain frequently occur, particularly in the winter months.
Don’t forget too that you may encounter wildlife, such as kangaroos, wallabies and wombats.
Remember that many tourists come to the Great Ocean Road and Otway Region, and are unlikely to be familiar with the environment – they may be distracted by maps, GPS systems and the natural beauty around them.
In city and metropolitan locations, the conditions can vary greatly. Be alert, scan the road ahead and be aware of other vehicles – in particular watch for car doors, and be aware of blind spots.
Be mindful of the impact that these local conditions can have on you and other road users – be aware and take extra care. Read the road ahead, and ride to the local conditions.
Share the Road
Road safety is a shared responsibility, and that includes all of us, whether we are on our bikes, walking or driving. As a cyclist, be mindful that your behaviour can help shape the way other road users behave towards you.
Be predictable, and indicate your intentions. Try to make eye contact – this is an important means of communication. Next time you are out on your bike, keep the ‘4C’s in mind:
- Be Courteous - for example by acknowledging other road users with a friendly wave if they have given you right of way, or slowed down – this helps to encourage a more harmonious road environment
- Be Calm – don’t rush, be aware of your own emotions and try to stay calm, even if other road users are not. This helps to reduce the likelihood of you making risky choices, and can help to diffuse tensions on the roads
- Be Considerate – for example if training with a bunch, be considerate of other road users and consider moving to single file if someone is trying to pass and it’s safe to do so. When climbing and descending narrow windy roads with poor sightlines, be respectful of other road users and move aside where safe to do so to let others pass
- Be Conscientious – make sure your bike is in good working order, your lights are charged and you are wearing appropriate gear.
Be Safe to Cycle
Monitor your own health and make sure you are fit to ride, every time you get out on your bike. Illness, fatigue and mindset can all impact how safe you are on the bike. Ensure you keep hydrated, maintain energy levels with sufficient fuel and monitor your fatigue while training. We recommend you carry an emergency/medical ID with you at all times.
Keeping your bike well maintained is also important for your safety.
Follow the Road Rules
Road safety starts with you. Cyclists are required to observe road rules, including applicable traffic control signals and signs, such as red lights, stop and give way signs.
Road safety is a shared responsibility – remember that your actions impact the way other road users view all cyclists, not just you. Do the right thing, enjoy your ride, and let’s all get home safely.