Best gear for cycling safety
Cycling safety can seem like a boring and tedious thing to consider before heading out, but taking an extra 5 minutes before leaving your house to prepare yourself for the worst case scenarios can save you a world of pain and discomfort. This blog will explain the importance of cycle safety and why ‘better safe than sorry’ is a statement that we should all live by.
We all know the importance of helmets but the statistics are damningly tragic. A recent study reported that 97% of New York cyclist deaths occured when the rider was not wearing a helmet, and to which another study reported that only 18% of cyclists actually wear a helmet! As we can see, the chances of death increase dramatically when not wearing a helmet and the chances of having a head injury when wearing a helmet reduce by 50%, all in all making it a no brainer as to why you need to wear one.
The statistics can be very depressing to read when related to death and injuries when not wearing helmets, but the fact remains that the majority of cyclists choose not wear one and unfortunately learn the importance of them when it’s too late. Always wear a helmet and don’t take the risk because it is more certainly not worth it.
You might not recognise gloves as being as important as helmets, and judging by the statistics you wouldn’t be blamed in thinking that way, but gloves are another form of bike safety that can prevent injury and serious discomfort.
The main benefit of wearing gloves is to protect your hands if you do happen to fall off your bike, which can happen to anyone at any time regardless of cycling experience. Whenever you fall off your bike you naturally spread your arms out so your hands cushion the blow to avoid hurting your body - now pair that with cycling on the tarmac at 12mph and falling onto the road without wearing gloves and you’ll see the damage that your hands can endure. As your hands take the speed and force of the impact with the road you’ll wish your hands had some form of protection to avoid your hands having the skin stripped off completely and leaving you with weeks worth of recovery and discomfort!
On a less serious note, gloves also keep your hands warm when it’s cold out - double benefit!
Whether you check the weather before you leave, take the chance or just endure the elements, always have a light attached to your bike. Lights not only help you see where you’re going but also help other road users see you, avoiding any near misses or even any accidents. The importance of having a light ready at all times relates to the typical unpredictability of the weather - it could be sunny and light when you leave but 40 minutes later it’s raining and dark!
A light can be the difference between getting home safely or getting involved in a nasty accident, so once again it’s not worth the risk.
Similarly to gloves, protective clothing can save a lot of discomfort and pain. Even with gloves, falling off your bike without the correct clothing will still lead to bodily pain and discomfort.
These items of clothing are typically padded yet lightweight making for an excellent accessory for any cyclist to have in their gear, as opposed to using any items of clothing (which would also get damaged and ripped in the event of any accidents). As well as being padded, another potential safety feature is that some items of clothing are reflective and can be beneficial for use at night too, compared to standard clothes which are likely not reflective and won’t help with your safety in any way at all!
Special cycling shoes are not only smart and lightweight, making for great cycling performance and experiences, but they are also a lot safer than standard shoes when it comes to cycling due to their soles that can come with pedal fittings and gripping. Cycling shoes typically prevent any slipping or loss of control off the pedals compared to normal shoes due to how they fit on to the pedals more effectively than trainers.
Not only this, but cycling shoes have stiff soles that allow you to add more force to your pedalling and turn your cycling into a more efficient and enjoyable experience. Better safety and better performance - win/win!
If you’re interested in introducing your little one to the world of cycling or the outdoors in general, child seat attachments to your bike are a must for safety. They are the safest way to carry your child on a bike due to the variety of features these seats have on them, including harnesses, straps and posture fittings that keep your child comfy and safe.
Child seats come in two different positions; rear fitting seats and front fitting seats. Front fitting seats are generally considered less safe due to their positioning in any accidents, but if you’re looking for a slow and more educational experience then a front fitting seat is more beneficial for communicating with your child. Rear fitting seats are a lot more safer than front seats but do not allow for a bonding experience like a front seat. Whichever position you choose to go for, your child will be far more safer than if you were to try and share a seat with your child.
Child seats easily connect to the bike and remain in place throughout your journey, although they do sacrifice cycling performance but as long as you’re not too concerned about your statistics or times, then these are perfect for you and your child. It is important to note that it is imperative that you get some practice cycling with added weight first before taking a child out with you - try a sack of potatoes first so you get used to the balance.
Safety is not an area where you should be cutting corners; the difference between being careful and not is far too much to risk when it comes to injuries or even death. Helmets, clothing and lights should be a staple of any cyclist's gear to ensure they are as protected as possible for the dreaded worst case scenarios that ultimately could happen to absolutely anyone. You really should be ‘better safe than sorry’.