As one of the most recognisable faces in professional cycling, we are delighted that our ambassador Lizzie Deignan is spearheading our Cyclists vs. Drivers campaign. As a former World and Commonwealth champion, Lizzie is the perfect candidate to back a campaign such as this.
To aid the campaign, she’s has given us her invaluable top tips on staying safe and sharing the road in harmony.
Cycling has never been more popular, and this upsurge shows no signs of stopping. I’m training on roads day in, day out and I’ve had my fair share of scrapes and near misses, so it’s safe to say I’ve accumulated some tricks of the trade during my time on the road – both as a cyclist and a driver!
- Give yourself space
Sometimes, you think it’s safer to ride as far left as possible, but my experience has taught me that it’s often better to ride just that little bit further into road, so that you miss the gutters.
This also means that, if a driver does overtake you too closely, there’s some manoeuvrable space to the left. A lot of the time, the car can’t pass you anyway, so you’re definitely better off having that extra little bit of room!
- If in doubt, stop
A rule I live by is that if you’re not confident doing something while riding, then stop. If you’re a beginner and find it difficult to have a drink while riding in a straight line, stop and rehydrate – don’t try and do it while you’re moving.
- High-vis gear
I’m often advised by Boels Dolmans to wear high-visibility gear, but I always feel so much safer when I’m wearing bright kit anyway – so I don’t mind at all. If I could choose what I wanted to wear all the time on my bike, I would still always choose clothing with high-visibility material.
There are so many types of high-visibility gear available now – you don’t have to dress like you’re on a building site with a big flappy vest! The Cyclists vs. Drivers study has highlighted its importance, with more than a quarter of drivers identifying cyclists not wearing high-vis gear as their biggest issue on the roads.
Growing up and cycling on Yorkshire roads means I know all too well how cloudy, foggy, and rainy the UK can be! So, I wear ‘light-coloured or fluorescent clothing’ (Highway Code Rule 59), a helmet, and do everything I possibly can to make myself visible. That way, you’ve done all that you can to keep yourself safe.
- I never fail to wear a helmet
It’s also going to aid you in feeling safer. Recapturing the joy of cycling is all about making choices that are going to make your ride more enjoyable.
I always remind myself that one second could change my whole life. You could lose your life in just a second – wearing a helmet reduces that risk considerably.
- Choose your timing to ride two abreast
Personally, I only ride two abreast on the road where cars will have enough notice to see that I’m riding two abreast, and I never do it on main roads.
With social cycling gaining in popularity, you are going to see big groups of cyclists out on the road riding two or three abreast. It’s important that if you’ve been riding two abreast for five minutes and there’s a queue of cars behind you, that you stop, pull over, and let them past – it’s just about common courtesy.