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Cycle safety and security

As a cyclist you are more vulnerable than other road users, but by taking some simple precautions you can reduce the risk of accidents or injury.

Kitted out for safe cycling

As a cyclist you are more vulnerable than other road users, but by taking some simple precautions you can reduce the risk of accidents or injury. 

  • Helmets should always be worn, even on short journeys. You should only buy a helmet if it carries a CE mark and one of the normal safety standards, e.g. BS EN 1078:1997 or equivalent.
  • Try the helmet on before you buy it. It should fit comfortably and should sit level across your forehead without obscuring your view.
  • If you want to improve your cycling skills, you can take part in one of the cyclist training courses available to young people and adults. For more information contact Hertfordshire County Council's Road Safety Department.
  • Look after your bike, check moving parts regularly and give special attention to tyres, brakes and lights.
  • Have your bike serviced regularly.
  • It is against the law to cycle in darkness without front and rear lights and a red reflector. Keep these clean and if they are battery operated, check the batteries before each journey. 
  • You should always wear fluorescent / reflective bands both day and night to increase visibility.
  • If your bike has a bell, use it but don't assume everyone can hear you. Still take care when using shared cycle paths.
  • If you listen to your mp3 player or personal stereo whilst cycling, you are reducing your ability to focus on the road and may not hear traffic warnings. 

Downloads

Planning your journey

Before setting out on a cycle ride always give some thought to your journey to ensure it will be safe and enjoyable. 

  • Wherever possible use cycle paths. Take care and remember that these are often shared with horse riders and pedestrians.
  • If you have to cycle on the road, try to use side streets to avoid very busy roads.
  • Take extra care at junctions and roundabouts and use clear hand signals.
  • Always double check it is safe before joining a main road.
  • Cycle in single file on busy or narrow roads.
  • Remember, it is against the law to cycle on pavements (unless shared), or through red lights and down one-way streets the wrong way. 

Figures taken from  www.hertsdirect.org (March 2009).

Useful Contacts

For information about training courses and cycling in Hertfordshire contact:

Road Safety
Environment Department
Hertfordshire County Council
Tel:  01992 556800

Visit  www.bikeability.org.uk for information on the national ‘Cycling Proficiency’ scheme.

Keep your cycle secure 

Hertfordshire is a safe place with some of the lowest crime levels in the country. Despite this more than 1,000 bicycles are reported stolen every year and of those recovered, most are auctioned simply because there's no way of knowing who the owners are. 

Bicycles are one of the most commonly stolen items. Failing to secure them makes them an easy target for thieves. 

Take some appropriate precautions by using good quality security products (and using them well).  

Bicycle security

  • Invest in good quality security.  Spend between 10-15per cent of the value of the bike on its security.
  • Lock your bike frame AND wheels TO something with two different types of lock! Just using a chain and lock around a bike frame and wheels without locking to something sturdy, leaves your bike vulnerable to being carried away. But locking only the frame or the wheels to something could result in unsecured parts being stolen. 
  • Use a chain and D-lock combination - avoid cable locks. Cable locks offer little deterrent to thieves as they are easy to cut with basic cable cutters, hacksaws and even wire-cutters.  See our advice and recommendations below on locks.
  • Lock your bike to something secure. Where possible secure your bike to a bike rack, pedestrian railings or some other large and tough object. Avoid locking to street signage – some are not very high, which makes it easy to lift bikes over the top of the post. Thieves may also un-bolt the sign to do this.
  • Natural surveillance.  Lock your bike where you can see it. If this is not possible, find a busy area.
  • Security at home. Most bicycles are stolen from home so ensure your sheds, outbuildings and garages are secure.  Consider installing ground anchors if you have a concrete floor. If not, look for security rated products specifically for wooden and metal sheds.
  • Bike registration. Register your bike on The Bike Registera free online property database which police use to check stolen property. That way, if your bike does get stolen, you have more chance of it being returned to you.

Chains, locks and D-locks

Always secure your bike with two types of lock, for example a D-lock and a chain. This means a thief needs a variety of tools to steal your bike.

We ONLY recommend using Secured By Design (SBD) or Sold Secure rated products.

D-locks

D-locks are not recommended for use on their own as they can be compromised even without specialist tools. How you fit them can make a difference. Use alongside a chain for increased security.

  • Low-end D-locks tend to be vulnerable in several ways that are not applicable to chains. The lighter (and cheapest) D-locks can be almost as vulnerable as cable locks.
  • A mid-range D-lock will not offer the same deterrent and protection as a chain and lock costing the same price. They are lighter to carry so they do offer a compromise for cost and weight, against security level.
  • High-end D-locks can be expensive and heavy. Considering the security vulnerabilities of all D-locks, a good quality lock and chain might be a better option.

How to use

  • Keep the free space within the loop to a minimum. You can fill the space by looping the lock around the rear bicycle wheel as well as the seat tube.  Or you can thread it around two or three railings rather than one.
  • If you have quick-release wheels, it is advisable to remove the front wheel and to lock it onto the D-lock as well.  Do this by placing it next to the seat tube and passing the shackle of the lock through it. The front wheel then helps to fill space inside the 'D' as well as protecting it.
  • Compact and Mini-D locks reduce vulnerability by only having a small opening within the 'D'.  But this may restrict your ability to lock the cycle in certain situations.  It may also prevent you from securing your quick release front wheel at the same time. 

Chains

A well manufactured chain and lock would need bolt croppers as a minimum to break through it.  Although thinner security rated 11mm and 13mm chains can be cut with a large bolt cropper, they offer better security than D-locks. Thicker chains offer greater security - 16mm chains are almost impossible to break with anything portable.

  • In general terms, for bicycles below £1,000, an 11mm Sold Secure Bicycle Gold Standard chain is a good choice.
  • For £1,000-£1,500 in value (or total value if securing multiple bikes), we recommend a similar specification 13mm chain and lock.
  • Higher-value bikes (£3,000 plus) are as desirable to specialist thieves as motorbikes. Use a Sold Secure Motorbike Gold Standard chain and lock (16mm on average).
  • A ground-mounted anchor locking a single bike is likely to need a 1.5m long chain. Whilst a 1.5m chain used with a wall-mounted anchor or shed shackle at crossbar/top-tube height could do a reasonable job on two bikes, a 2m chain could lock two bikes and all four wheels.
  • Allow for a couple of extra links in the length to allow for the cross over at the lock.

How to use

  • Loop the chain through the main triangle of the frame and the rear triangle of the frame and through the rear wheel.  Doing this means a thief would have to not only cut the rear wheel and tyre, as well as the frame, which is much harder.
  • Loop it through a higher part of the bike and onto a higher anchoring point to keep the chain clear of the floor.
  • When using ground anchors, always use the correct length of chain. Consider a secondary fixing to keep the bike upright.
  • Some of the heavy duty chains may not fit through the spokes.  You could use a smaller chain on your wheels and a larger one on the frame

Locks

We only recommend Secured by Design and Sold Secure rated closed shackle lock designs.  They protect the most vulnerable part of the lock (the shackle), by ensuring that it is enclosed within the link of the chain itself. When selecting a lock, pick one that matches the security rating and width of your chain.

How to use

  • Pass the link at one end of the chain through the link at the other end of the chain. Fix the lock to the link that pokes through.

Security standards

When buying bicycle security products, look for a Sold Secure certification. Sold Secure is an independent testing body affiliated to the Master Locksmiths Association.  The insurance industry and the police use them to give comparative ratings to a wide range of products for a wide range of situations.

  • Buy Bicycle Silver rated products as a minimum. These may not be appropriate for bicycles worth £1,000 plus, or if stored out of normal sight. 
  • Look for Sold Secure Bicycle Gold wherever you can. It is a much better rating and is our preferred minimum.
  • For higher-value bicycles (£1,000 plus) Motorcycle Gold security products will better guard against a determined thief but are not likely to be convenient to transport.
  • Be vigilant to misleading product packaging. There are lots of “gold” rated products out there that have never been near a testing laboratory.
  • Check Sold Secure or Secured By Design before you buy.  Check with your insurance company to see what security standards they need for your insurance cover to be valid.

Property registration and marking

We recommend that you mark and register your bicycle.  You can register your property FOR FREE using The Bike Register, a national, police approved database.  

Also consider signage or stickers for your bike to let thieves know your bicycle is property marked.  This will act as an extra deterrent. 

Report it

If you have been a victim of bicycle theft, call 101 or Report it online

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