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.
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).
For information about training courses and cycling in Hertfordshire contact:
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.
Keeping your bike yours
There are some very simple things you can do to deter opportunist thieves from stealing your bike:
- Mark the frame of your bike with your postcode using a UV pen or contact your local cycle shop, as most will mark them for a small cost. You can contact us for advice on other property marking initiatives available.
- Register your bike on www.immobilise.com, a 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.
- Never leave your bike unlocked – even if you're just popping into the newsagents.
- The best kind of lock is a quality solid steel D-shaped shackle lock. You can buy these at any bike shop.
- Always lock your bike to something solid like a lamp-post or railings, preferably in a public area.
- If you have quick release wheels, take off the front wheel and lock it to the frame and back wheel.
- If you have a pump or detachable lights take them with you when you leave your bike.
- Make sure you have adequate insurance cover for your bike.
On our cycle safety and security leaflet, there is a Record Form which you can print off and complete with details about your bike. Attach a clear, colour photograph of your bike and keep this form in a safe place. If your bike is stolen, you should report the theft to us and give them this form – it will help the police identify your bike if it is found.