Research from the National Accident Helpline has revealed that 42 per cent of cyclists do not feel safe cycling in designated cycle lanes, and 53 per cent feel nervous when cycling in the dark.
This is during a time where cycling in the UK is on a high, boosted by our 2012 Olympic success and the national enthusiasm from hosting the Tour de France last year.
“More and more Britons are following Bradley Wiggins and getting inspired by the Tour de France to hop on a bike. Unfortunately, this rise has been accompanied by a sense of nervousness when it comes to road cycling,” commented Russell Atkinson, keen cyclist and chief executive officer of the National Accident Helpline.
According to Transport for London, over a third of cyclists are injured in the early hours of the evening. In Greater London, up to 34 per cent of cyclists were injured around dusk between 4pm and 8pm – corresponding with the short days and dark evenings now the winter months are here.
Here are the National Accident Helpline recommendations to ensure you stay safe when cycling in the dark:
Light up: make sure your bike has good lights, fitted where they can be seen. It is illegal to cycle in the dark without a white front light, a red back light and a red reflector at the back. This, however, is the minimum requirement for lighting; it would be wise to invest in more. It’s also a good idea to carry spare batteries and/or back-up lights with you in case they run out when you’re cycling.
Be seen: Wear reflective clothing. It’s important to stand out so that you can be seen. As well as specialist bike clothing with reflective elements, wear neon and white items, such as a high-vis vest. If you are cycling with a backpack, try using a fluorescent one.
Avoid hazards: As well as other approaching vehicles, look out for uneven surfaces and potholes, animals and pedestrians in dark clothing. Watch out for slippery leaves in autumn, and black ice on the roads as temperatures drop. Take extra caution if you are trying a new route. Avoid wearing headphones as they will act as an extra hazardous distraction.
For further findings from the survey, visit: www.national-accident-helpline.co.uk/cycling-safety-survey