Tips for enhancing cycling safety

BY JESICA SLABBERT - JANUARY 31, 2018

The safety of cyclists has become a very big concern on South African roads, and over the past few years incidents and accidents concerning cyclists have been rapidly increasing.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation  (RTMC) says that the road deaths among our cyclists climbed from 320 in 2015 to a rather alarming 451 deaths in 2016.

Here are a few easy to remember tips to increase the chances of cycling safely in the future:

  • Make sure that your bike is in good repair.

  • Make sure to always cycle with a helmet. Head injuries are one of the highest causes of cyclist deaths.

  • Ensure that your helmet is in good repair and properly fits you. When the straps and comfort pads are adjusted, the helmet should not move forward, backward, or come off. It should sit level on the head and extend down to about two fingers (3cm) above the eyebrows. Chin straps should be snug without pinching, and the front and rear straps should meet just below each ear when tightly adjusted. 

  • Wear protective eyewear to protect your eyes from dirt, wind and bugs.

  • Wear either reflective or fluorescent clothing to make yourself easy to spot along the road. Make sure to wear ones appropriate for the weather was well.

  • Remember the rules of the road as well as traffic road signs and their meanings. Never forget to ride with the flow of traffic, never against it.

  • Keep a sharp eye out for potholes and debris such as rocks along the road. Be careful not to cycle through puddles as there might be hazards hidden under the water that you cannot see.

  • Make sure there is plenty of time to warn the car behind you before you make a left or right turn with hand signals.

  • Be very cautious about blind spots, you need to think ahead before you react.

  • At bends and corners of junctions, don’t try to speed past a lorry or long vehicle when turning, the driver may not have seen the cyclist approaching at the near side. It can be very dangerous.

  • Be sure to stay in a straight line when cycling, do not swerve around.

  • Do not speed behind a moving vehicle, if it should suddenly stop in front of you it could result in a collision.

  • Remember that pedestrians have the right of way.

  • Avoid carrying heavy loads that might affect your sense of balance.

It should also be said that cyclists should also start wearing emergency bracelets when going out for a ride. There have been a number of cyclists that owe their lives to the fact that they were wearing an identification bracelet or some other means of identification.

The bracelet contains a piece of paper with medical aid details, allergies etc. This is very important info for medics to have when treating an injured cyclist as they are often unconscious or incoherent in an accident.

Cyclists, who want to know about this can contact their cycling club or the GPPA directly for more information.

Contact Franchisee Alison Kirk
eThekweni contact number 031 764 7425
eThekweni email address alison@homefoodandtravel.co.za