Bicycles/General Safety – Wikibooks, open books for an open world


This chapter is supposed to cope with Normal Security, and can cowl what gear chances are you’ll want, visibility upkeep and safety, all of which could be adjusted earlier than a rider begins their day by day commute.


At the beginning a bike owner wants a effectively maintained and purposeful machine. The bicycle is without doubt one of the few shopper durables nonetheless meant to be maintainable by the proprietor: most cycle upkeep is straightforward and requires solely primary instruments. On the very least the rider ought to usually examine safety-critical elements:

  • Brakes: the entrance brake needs to be able to locking the entrance wheel in order that if the bike is pushed forwards, the rear wheel lifts; the rear brake needs to be able to skidding the rear wheel.
  • Headset: with the entrance brake firmly on, rock the bike forwards and backwards. When you really feel a clunk because the bike strikes, and the handlebars transfer round, then the headset most likely wants adjusting or changing.

A winter tyre for bicycles which offer higher grip in icy situations.
  • Tires: examine your tires usually for cuts and put on. Worn tires can blow out, with perilous penalties. In addition they puncture extra readily. Examine that your tires are pumped up sufficient. Pinch the tire between thumb and forefinger: It ought to really feel arduous. Mountain bike tires usually run at about 45psi, highway bike tires at something as much as 120psi. Don’t use storage forecourt airways (gasoline station air compressors) to inflate bike tires, use a correct pump ideally with a strain gauge. Over-inflated tires can elevate off the rim and burst. Below-inflated tires compromise management and can lead to pinch flats, also called snakebite punctures for his or her attribute double holes.
  • Wheels: In flip, elevate every finish of the bike and spin the wheel. It ought to spin freely and the rim ought to stay roughly the identical distance from the brake blocks. A wheel which is badly out of true could point out a damaged spoke – this needs to be mounted as quickly as doable or else extra spokes (or the entire wheel) will most likely quickly fail. Attempt to transfer the rim backward and forward. If it strikes otherwise you really feel a clunk, then the bearings could also be worn and needs to be checked. If the wheel feels gritty because it spins, or rumbles, the bearings are most likely broken.
  • Handlebars: stand in entrance of the bike, dealing with in direction of it; maintain the entrance wheel between your legs; seize the handlebars and attempt to flip. If the bars twist on the stem, tighten them.
  • Normal: when you’ve got mudguards (fenders), a rack, a sequence guard or some other gear connected to your bike, give it a superb rattle sometimes and examine that it’s nonetheless securely mounted. Unfastened mudguards, for instance, can go in your wheel and produce you down.

Lights & conspicuity[edit]

The overall consensus is that if you happen to trip after darkish you must use lights. This a authorized requirement in most locations. It is usually usually really useful that you just costume to be seen, particularly in poor climate. Though this consensus is broad-based, it’s largely intuitive and there are few research to help or refute it.

Bike match[edit]

It is not uncommon for folks to purchase a motorcycle that’s too huge, within the data {that a} baby will develop. This will make it very troublesome for the kid to manage the bike correctly – generally it will be higher to purchase a second-hand bike the appropriate dimension than a brand new one with “room for progress,” which is, in actuality, too huge.

In adults the most important fault is normally having the saddle too low, however that is primarily a problem of erroneously perceived consolation and well being. It upsets the power of the rider to manage the bike and damages the riders knees and again. The very best recommendation when shopping for/becoming a motorcycle is to go to a specialist bike store (Caveat emptor) and take recommendation.


The topic of cycle helmets is controversial. Some proof means that helmeted riders are much less prone to undergo head damage; different proof suggests the other. Even when cycle helmet use has risen steeply as a result of legal guidelines that require it, it has not been demonstrated that there’s a correlation between helmet use and discount in head accidents. Latest evaluation helps the conclusion of Spaite et al. that a lot of the impact attributed to helmets in case-control research could also be as a result of behavioural variations within the kinds of cyclists who select to put on or not put on them. In a low velocity crash, a bike owner may profit from sporting a helmet however the principle of danger compensation means that the very fact of sporting one could subtly affect cyclists’ driving by making them much less cautious. In a extra severe crash, particularly if a motorized vehicle is concerned, it’s unlikely {that a} helmet will make a major distinction. One examine discovered that 16 of 20 bike owner fatalities whose major reason behind loss of life was listed as head damage additionally had different deadly accidents. Of the remaining 4, a minimum of one rider had been helmeted on the time[1].
It is not uncommon to cite statistics from totally different nations to help a specific opinion that helmets don’t scale back accidents. For instance, figures from the Netherlands appear to point that helmet use will increase the danger of accident. That is prone to be as a result of the truth that most extraordinary cyclists don’t put on helmets and that cycle visitors could be very effectively segregated from different highway visitors. Riders put on helmets when they’re racing or collaborating in different harmful biking actions and due to this fact individuals who put on helmets are those that are injured.
Some individuals say that though it’s troublesome to show whether or not cycle helmets are efficient, sporting one could also be worthwhile though a helmet doesn’t assure to scale back susceptibility to severe mind damage. It could even be worthwhile to put on a helmet simply to maintain the solar out of your eyes. When you do determine to put on a helmet, guarantee that it’s well-fitting and is accurately mounted and that it’s worn within the right place. Care for your helmet, it should not be dropped or bumped and guarantee that the floor shouldn’t be scratched which may harm the inner construction.

Native Info[edit]

Discover a native unbiased bike store that you just belief. Go in and have a chat with the individuals and see if it’s your type of place. The workers in a superb bike store will have the ability to provide invaluable recommendation and they’re largely completely satisfied to assist.
Impartial bike retailers are really useful as a result of their workers are usually extra passionate and educated about biking than in most chain retailers.

Many areas even have native biking organisations, starting from sport-oriented cycle golf equipment to campaigning organisations for ‘transport’ cyclists.

The Web[edit]

There are a lot of internet boards providing dialogue of all elements of biking and associated points, in addition to info websites run by people and organisations. Hyperlinks to a few of these are given on the backside of the web page.

Authorities Info[edit]

Authorities businesses difficulty info and recommendation about biking. the UK Freeway Code comprises a abstract of highway visitors legal guidelines and official ‘finest follow’. While few biking organisations advocate breaking the legislation, many see the recommendation parts as written by non-cyclists, and never essentially in step with actuality or cyclists’ finest pursuits.


It is vital that the bicycle you depend on is in good situation. Be taught to do easy jobs like lubrication and brake and kit adjustment. Clear your bike usually. Take your bike in for a service at your bike store a minimum of annually. Important security crucial components that you must examine typically are:

Wheels: Are your tires in good situation and accurately inflated? Do not trip on bald or flat tires.
Are the wheel bolts tight sufficient to carry the wheel in place? You probably have quick-release wheels examine that the fast launch is accurately tightened each time you trip your bike. Does the wheel run straight and true? if there are wobbles within the spinning wheel your bike store can simply “true” them for you.

Cables: Examine all of your brake and kit cables for indicators of rust, put on or fraying. The brake cable is without doubt one of the most necessary components on a motorcycle so be sure to maintain a detailed examine on its situation. In case your cables look worn out get your bike store to suit new ones.

Brakes: Check the brakes earlier than you get out on to the highway. When wanting on the brakes examine that the brake pads aren’t worn out, and that they make contact with the wheel rim accurately when pressure is utilized on the lever. Ask your bike store to indicate you find out how to carry out each day adjustment in your brakes. See additionally Adjusting Brakes.

Many bike retailers run cycle upkeep programs. Examine with the workers in your native (hopefully unbiased) cycle store.


Bike theft is rampant in city centres, so if you are going to go away your bike anyplace you could assume that it will entice thieves. The same old methodology utilized by bike thieves is as follows:

  • Bikes normally disappear in a single day. Bikes are stolen by opportunists through the day however organised bike gangs steal bikes at evening, after mapping out their meant places within the previous sunlight hours.
  • Watch out for strangers on bikes. Previous to an organised theft, younger strangers or near-strangers will likely be seen observing within the space of the bikes through the daytime, maybe on bikes themselves. Even when they’re despatched away it’s unsuitable to imagine that the purpose was received; they’re casing the place for an evening theft and so they or others will return, normally the identical evening. If observers are seen through the day, take the bikes into the home no matter any inconvenience.
  • No lock is completely secure. Any lock could be damaged, however purchase a superb lock to maintain the percentages in your favor. Thieves use automotive jacks to interrupt d-clamp locks, and bolt cutters for chains and cables. Some say that skeleton keys can be found for locks.
  • Bikes are then stripped of any peculiar fixings. Actually, all the brakes and different equipment could be eliminated; They’re interchanged between different bikes to confuse recognition.
  • The thieves promote the bikes rapidly. They get comparatively low costs for bikes however in view of the low penalties imposed on their actions, they steal massive numbers of things. Promoting the bikes compounds the issue of restoration even when the objects are discovered.

Keep in mind then, the next factors:

  • No cycle lock is thief proof. All you are able to do to guard your bike is purchase time. It’s important to improve the danger for the thief to the purpose that they won’t hassle concentrating on you. By the point {that a} bike is stolen, the prospect of it being recovered by police is poor.
  • Put money into a safe cycle lock. There are a lot of varieties to select from. The workers within the bike store will have the ability to give you one of the best recommendation. A typical information is that you must make investments a minimum of 10% of the worth of your cycle in a lock. Ideally contemplate a lock that may fasten each wheels and the body to a motorcycle stand or different immovable object. Two locks of various varieties could also be higher than one. Insurers insist on good locks and so they have authorized lists.
  • Insure your bike. Learn the coverage rigorously; a few of these are troublesome to assert on. In case your bike receipt doesn’t have all the objects on it, together with the bike quantity, date of buy, price, and different objects, then be sure to get these or the insurance coverage won’t work. Equally, the receipt in your bike lock is anticipated to be much-detailed, together with its make, mannequin, value, and serial quantity, as a way to justify the good lock clause. No simple activity; most counter receipts lack element. Though most insurance coverage covers theft away from house when an authorized lock was used, insurers won’t normally pay for a motorcycle stolen from the frequent space of flats whether or not or not a superb lock was used, (on the railings). There’s typically a stipulated front-door lock high quality for insured objects in the home itself, although frankly, taking the bike into the home at evening offers one of the best safety of all. Sadly, many solely understand the constraints of insurance coverage after an unsuccessful declare.
  • Fast launch elements want locked too. Wheels and saddles want locked to discourage petty thieves. It may be price investing in a lightweight cable lock to safe your elements to your body. Two locks are additionally higher than one as a result of it takes the thief longer to take away them.
  • Select the place that you just lock your bike up rigorously. By no means lock your bike up someplace that you just hope it will not be seen – keep in mind, no lock is thief proof, however they purchase time. If the thief thinks it’s going to take too lengthy to take away the lock, and so they may be caught then they will not try a theft. By locking your bike up in a quiet spot you might be eradicating the one benefit you’ve got. Ideally select a chosen cycle parking facility offered by the (most) municipal authorities. If not then lamp posts, fences, indicators, and so on. present helpful locking factors. Ensure you lock your bike up in busy locations. There are a couple of main factors to make about selecting the thing you lock your bike to:
  • By no means lock your bike to forged iron railings! – Forged iron is brittle, so though a railing appears robust a pointy blow from a heavy hammer can shatter it very quickly in any respect. When you’re unsure discover one thing else to lock your bike to.
  • Examine that the bike stand or different object is safe. Bicycle locking stands mustn’t transfer. They need to be as strong as a rock. Some actually just do elevate up out of the bottom. Some fences have railings that slide proper out. What ever you are locking your bike to, give it a superb shake earlier than you lock your bike to it. If it appears prefer it may go someplace, select some place else to lock your bike.
  • While you lock your bike to an indication be certain that it is a tall one. Thieves will simply bend the join and elevate your bike excessive of the submit if they will. Ensure that the submit is just too tall for them to do this. Additionally, in some nations, (London, UK), the police may object to bikes cabled to lampposts, and as such if an offense is being dedicated, you may that it makes for a troublesome insurance coverage declare within the occasion of a theft.
  • Attempt to not go away your bike outdoors in a single day anyplace. You will see that that insurance coverage insurance policies could not cowl this, even within the frequent space of your property. Take any bike that you just worth into the home. Folding bikes make this regime simpler, even when they’ve 26 inch wheels.
  • Make your cycle much less enticing to thieves. You will get your bicycle body stamped with a singular quantity (generally your postcode or zip-code) and registered with the police. There are additionally digital tags that determine your bike as stolen if the police discover it. There are web property registers like which can be utilized by legislation enforcement and bike house owners to examine whether or not or not for-sale and recovered objects are already reported as stolen. Theoretically, there needs to be no worldwide boundaries to web registers, although the dearth of worldwide police liaison (and their disinterest) may stop it. Precedence in most police forces is given to crimes in opposition to the particular person, so bike theft has fairly a low precedence.
  • Some cyclists wrap the body of their cycles in tape. Use both electrical insulating tape or “gaffer” tape to make the body distinctive; this additionally covers the labels on an costly body and protects the paintwork. It is usually detachable, any gunk left over from the tape could be eliminated with degreaser. Some (notably messengers) cowl their frames in vinyl stickers. This appears cool however won’t be to everyone’s style. It has the identical impact as taping.
  • Becoming mudguards offers a motorcycle a barely much less racy look. It additionally helps make it much less enticing to thieves.
  • Take a lot of images of your bike. This can make it easier to determine it earlier than reporting a discover to police. It’s troublesome to examine a serial quantity on a parked bike, and maybe harmful too, so contemplate different concepts, like conserving a photograph of the bike’s paint chip patterns in your cellphone for a fast comparability. Chip patterns are fairly distinctive and thieves not often take the difficulty to cowl them.


Cycle retailers promote a variety of clothes particularly designed for cyclists.

In the summertime you may must put on shorts and a t-shirt. The “wicking” t-shirts bought in bike retailers and mountaineering retailers and so on. will draw the sweat away from you and assist maintain you dry. A light-weight wind-cheater is helpful for colder moments

Within the winter you may want breathable waterproofs – one thing that retains the rain off but additionally lets the sweat out, regular waterproofs will simply lure your sweat and make you’re feeling damp.

Cycle shorts: Are actually good for cyclists, however some do not just like the look. The seams are specifically positioned to keep away from chafing your “delicate” areas, generally they’ve padding to melt the trip. They are often made from particular wicking materials to attract away sweat and maintain you dry. They are often price sporting underneath extra typical garments for a extra typical look.


You will need to be as seen as doable when biking. It is rather simple for different highway customers to miss out on a bike owner in the dead of night till it’s too late.

The reflectors equipped along with your bike are a authorized minimal requirement (within the UK) however they won’t be sufficient to make sure you are totally seen. Reflectors fail for myriad reasons- see Sheldon Brown’s information for an inventory . Pedal reflectors are likely to work one of the best, as a result of they’re in movement more often than not, leading to a “flashing” impact. Spoke reflectors assist to make you seen from facet on, and like pedal reflectors are in fixed movement. Regardless of this, A bike owner has to take accountability for their very own visibility. If the automotive that hits you has no headlights then your reflectors will not do something.
It will be important that you just match entrance and taillights. Many cyclists additionally connect further lights to their clothes/helmet.

Regardless of the issues with bike reflectors, do not be tempted to take away them, They’re an necessary again up. Many cyclists connect further reflectors to their bike. Reflective tape is especially helpful as is could be wrapped across the body, turning the floor of the bike right into a reflector with out including any ugly bits of plastic and metallic.
Reflective clothes can also be really useful. A variety of reflective jackets, belts, trouser clips, vests and so on. is offered in cycle retailers. An inexpensive various could be the reflective tabards worn by highway restore crews. These can be found in builders retailers and needs to be licensed to be business security requirements.

Bells and horns[edit]

A bell or horn (or amongst London cycle messengers an elaborate whistle) is a vital piece of security gear. Use it to warn pedestrians of your strategy on shared pathways, or in the event that they haven’t seen you when they’re crossing the highway. Ring your bell for a couple of seconds earlier than going spherical any blind corners. When you cycle on canal towpaths ring the bell earlier than and whereas going underneath any bridges, as the doorway to many bridges (in London for instance) is obscured by a kink within the path. Do not forget that bicycles do not make any engine noise so you need to assist others grow to be conscious of your presence.

Different highway customers[edit]

It’s inevitable when biking in an city centre that you’ll are available in battle with different highway customers, together with each shifting and parked motor automobiles, pedestrians, upkeep actions, deliveries and trash pickups. Many common cyclists (and lots of drivers) have an extended record of examples of imbecility on the a part of drivers that led to a close to miss/shut shave, or seemingly unwarranted aggression from annoyed motorists. Rising numbers of motorists and pedestrians have equally-long lists of absurdly dangerous habits by cyclists. Cycle-commuting is more healthy for you and higher for the atmosphere. These personally- and socially-desirable advantages entitle you to no extra particular consideration than anyone else on the road. The necessary issues you could keep in mind are:

  • You’ve gotten as a lot proper to be on the highway as motorists (besides emergency automobiles in the midst of their obligation). If they can not move you safely they ought to attend. You could not wish to maintain your breath for this, nonetheless.
  • Different customers – particularly pedestrians – have simply as a lot proper to make use of the roads and streets. When you endanger their security by not observing road-rules, you might be simply as culpable as any motorist who won’t offer you area. Your extra consideration is warranted for youngsters, individuals with disabilities, animals, many seniors, and guests who’re unfamiliar with native right-of-way preparations.
  • Security is everyone’s lookout. It’s your accountability to be seen – this could imply slowing down when approaching cross-traffic; sporting highly-visible gear in poor mild (fog, rain, nightfall, glare) and lights seen for 100 meters when it’s darkish; giving indications of your intention to maneuver within the lane or make a flip. It is usually smart to pay attention to distractions that will afflict different riders, drivers, and pedestrians – these embrace telephones and music gamers in addition to sudden noises, flashing lights, or livid exercise within the atmosphere. Making eye contact with drivers at junctions, and so on., actually helps guarantee he/she has seen you, and allows you to anticipate when somebody could pull in entrance of you.
  • Streets are for driving. Sidewalks are for strolling. Do not trip on the sidewalk, and do not trip the unsuitable method down a one-way road. If a road has a bicycle lane, use it. Observe security guidelines for bikes on stairs, escalators, and public transit. Cease at stop-lights and cease indicators. Train care to keep away from slower-moving and halted automobiles and pedestrians.
  • Crowded city areas are by no means a spot for racing or time-trials. Many city cyclists are goal-oriented, intense, and assertive people who simply switch this perspective onto the road. Being focussed prevents general-awareness of your environment, nonetheless, it’s a main security hazard.
  • Don’t retaliate or provoke a confrontation. A bike owner is rather more susceptible than a motorized vehicle. Even an exasperated gesture could provoke highway rage, making a nasty scenario worse. Be glad that biking in cities is faster, higher in your well being, environmentally pleasant and a social exercise. When you actually wish to make your voice heard you’ll be able to see in case your metropolis has a bike owner’s affiliation, or maybe be part of a motorcycle trip organised by the protest group Important Mass (however keep away from unlawful behaviors).

See Additionally[edit]


  1. Sage MD (December 25, 1985). “Deadly accidents to bicycle riders in Auckland”. NZ Med J 98 (793). 

Exterior Hyperlinks[edit]

  • – An enormous web site with a lot of security, upkeep and enjoyable ideas, in-depth bike historical past classes. A wealthy seam of biking info.
  • – The web site of the London Biking Marketing campaign. Full of data for cyclists in London and past

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