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Cycle Safety Awareness

BeSeenBeSafe 550px Cycling safety has become a major concern on South African roads, as there has been a significant increase in the number of fatal accidents involving cyclists.  Races tend to be well organized with sufficient safety measures in place.  During training, cyclists are still exposed to the dangers caused by other road users, harsh conditions of nature and the perils of bad road conditions. What are the problems facing cyclists in traffic?
  • Vulnerability:  Cyclists pose little threat to drivers and hence drivers have less reason to be aware of them.  Speed is key in determining severity of outcome.  Speed management is therefore crucial in a safe traffic system aiming to provide for vulnerable road users.
  • Flexibility:  Motorists can never be sure when or where to expect cyclists – often cyclists flout road rules to make gains.
  • Instability:  Cycle mistakes or failures are dangerous when they occur near other motor traffic/road users.
  • Invisibility:  Cyclists are difficult to see and can be hidden, especially at night.
  • Consciousness of effort:  Cyclists seek quick, easy, direct routes, so as to minimise effort.
  • Estrangement:  Cyclists are often treated as nuisances on the roads, with little regard paid to their status as road users with equal rights.
It is with these risks in mind that we would like to offer suggestions that might increase safety on the road and reduce the risks of accident and injury. To couple of riding suggestions from www.bicyclesafe.com and www.greatist.com/fitness/bicycle-safety-101:
  • Always:  Wear a helmet!
  • Ride defensively and be alert:  Never assume vehicles are aware of you and know what your intentions are.  Never assume what a vehicle will do.  Motorists can also change their minds at the last instance.
  • Follow road rules:  Do not ride against traffic, or turn without signaling.  Let other road users know what your intentions are.
  • Be visible:  Wear reflective/bright coloured clothing.  Make use of a white light in front, as well as a red light in the rear.
And most of all -  have fun!  Cycling is about enjoying being outside, so enjoy it while you have the opportunity to do it.