Cycling to work is a great way of incorporating incidental exercise into your day, helping you to feel more energized and ready to ‘hit the ground running’ by the time you walk into the office.
We know cycling improves mental and physical health, as well as reducing traffic congestion and pollution in the air so why don’t we cycle to work? What is stopping you?
While there are situations which simply cannot be helped, such as working too far away, there are also a number of additional factors which deter would-be cyclists… The major one being safety.
So how we can reduce safety risk, allowing for a stress free cycling commute? The Cycle Accident Claims Management team offer some key pieces of advice.
Tips for a Stress-Free Cycling Commute:
1. Gear up
Not everyone likes wearing hi-visibility clothing, but it makes a huge difference on the roads. Drivers are more likely to see you, particularly in high-risk situations like when the cyclist turns right off a main road, crossing incoming traffic or when a cyclist is moving in or around your blind spot. Your cycle gear doesn’t have to be expensive either, with even a simple vest over your clothes doing the trick. Another valuable accessory to consider is a good bike lock is an absolute must. You want to make it as difficult as possible for someone to, say, take your bike on their own ride.
2. Be prepared
The more prepared you are, the more you will enjoy your commute to work. Consider how hot/cold you may be at the start/end of your journey and make sure you have the appropriate clothing. Be aware of the day-to-day weather and always check the weather reading that morning. It’s always a good idea to pack for the unexpected, if you can. You should also scope out the best places to lock up your bicycle. Ask around and consider the safest options…even if it means you have to walk a little longer to the office!
3. Know your routes…and your rights
It’s important to note the fastest or most simple route is not always the best, when you consider peak-hour traffic, infrastructure and whether there are cycle paths available. It’s a great idea to use Sustran’s online cycle map to view and weigh up all options between your home and workplace. Before you get in the saddle, or even if you’re just using a different route to work, read up on the latest Highway Code so you’re sharp and ready to go from the outset.
4. Be careful but confident
We can’t stress this one enough. Although you may not be feeling all that confident on your first run, you need to behave assertively on the roads. If you don’t communicate your direction of travel etc. with certainty, drivers are more likely to confuse your intentions. After a few rides, it will feel like second nature (although you should never become complacent). Make sure your bike brakes are working well, there is plenty of tread on your wheels and your lights are working as they should.
5. Consider combined commuting
Depending on how far away your work is (or how far away you’re willing to ride!), cycling to a train station, bus or tram stop can be a great option… especially if you’re new to riding. There are usually bike racks nearby public transport points. If you plan on taking your bike on the train with you, always check what kind of bikes are accepted… Sometimes, full-sized bikes are not allowed. Fold-up bikes are very popular for those combining their cycle journey with train transport, as they’re quite compact and light.
6. Support from your Employer
It’s worth asking yourself how your employer can better support your choice to ride your bike to work. After all, you’re positively contributing to local congestion issues, pollution concerns and improving your general health and wellbeing. Why wouldn’t they want to show support? It’s worth discussing the cycle to work scheme with them and the possibility of showers to freshen up.
If you follow these simple yet effective laws of the land, you’ll protect yourself as much as possible against any issues on the road. You might even have everyone in your workplace on board with the cycling way of life.
If for any reason you do encounter any issues or accidents, behaving carefully and in accordance with the road rules will put you in good stead to make a cycle insurance claim or personal injury claim, should you suffer a cycle injury which has left you in pain, unable to work, requiring rehabilitation or bike repairs, or any other related suffering.