I would say I was an experienced cyclist. Many that are reading this blog probably would also consider themselves one. However, a few years back I came across a channel on YouTube titled “SillyCyclists”. I found this channel to be very useful for me to learn how not to cycle and even though I considered myself “a know it all”, I learnt some new things. The uploader CycleGaz has over 50 videos highlighting faults with other cyclists, and is a very good cyclist himself. I recommend watching the series, videos like these may save your life! so you learn how to handle dangerous situations.
Learning to drive a car (& passing my test) in 2017 was also a big eye opener to me, in terms of understanding the dangers with cycling around cars. You begin to appreciate how easy it is to forget to check your mirrors etc, and you understand that there are blind spots on cars / trucks etc. When cyclists undertake you, or overtake, at times it can be a shock if you haven’t checked your mirrors recently. This was something for me to consider while cycling. It’s good to remember this so you wont get hit by a vehicle. Also, at times it’s difficult for drivers of cars and other vehicles, to see and appreciate how fast cyclists are going. This is also worth noting. Lastly, the driving test I advise cyclists to attempt…to get a better understanding of how the road works. What the signs mean etc. The hazard perception part of the test is very beneficial to get better at recognising dangers. These hazards / dangers can also apply to cyclists, not just cars, so my advice is watch some videos on YouTube and you may get better at watching for hazards on your two wheels.
Something else to consider is what to do when the road narrows. My advice is – it’s best to take the lane, which means positioning your bicycle further into the road to prevent dangerous overtakes of vehicles. However, as I talk about in a previous blog, try to practice this well & not take the mickey. Cyclists that are in the ‘middle of the road’ can severely annoy motorists. An example of when the road commonly narrows is at pinch points (pictured below). I’ve seen countless numbers of idiots try and overtake at pinch points myself in person, and in videos on YouTube. It seems a lot of camera helmet cyclists upload altercations with drivers where they overtook at a narrow point. Especially at these points. My advice is always take the lane at pinch points, however before you take the lane indicate and look over your shoulder.
There is lots more to consider when it comes to safe cycling, this includes not red light jumping, checking over your shoulders when going out into the road. Not cycling in the door zone. Having lights on your bicycle and reflective clothing etc. Wearing a helmet – however, I don’t always have one – especially when cycling off-road. If I wasn’t as confident cyclist as I am I would wear one a lot more. Cycling off-road, or on low traffic roads, in my view are a lot safer. This is something to consider. Also, some people choose to have mirrors on their bicycle – so they can see cars behind them.
One biggest cause of death for cyclists is getting caught between a truck / large vehicle, and rails or the side of the road, when they are turnig left. Trucks and large vehicles have several blind spots. TFL have a video on this (below). Another great one to watch.
Hope some of this information helps,