Whether you’re just stepping on the bike for the first time or a regular rider, some simple road/cycle craft rules will make sure that you ride your bike safely out on the road.
Road position in busy traffic can mean as a cyclist that you ride close to the kerb. This seems to be the default position. If you do this, try to be 1 metre away from the kerb. If you can try, take a position that is further near the middle of the road as it may be advantageous if a car drives close to you so you can ride into that space towards the kerb. Staying away from the kerb also helps you minimize being caught in potholes, road debris and drains. Drivers are more likely to see you if you are away from the kerb also and it means you are part of the traffic flow more importantly. In less busy traffic, you may want to ride in the middle of the road as this is safer but remember to allow faster road users to pass you on the right if the traffic in front of you is clear.
While your eyes should always be on the road in front of you, you will have to, at times, look behind you, particularly when overtaking other cyclists and motor vehicles or making left/right turns into other roads. Always hand signal if you move away from the edge of the road into the centre or right. Looking behind will also give you a good snapshot of the traffic behind you.
If you’re turning left or right or overtaking always signal your intentions. Signaling will always help the person behind whether it be a driver or a cyclist manage their own vehicles and slow down if necessary to allow you to complete your maneuver.
When overtaking on the right, always look back at the traffic behind you and the distance the motor vehicle/cyclist is. Give yourself room if passing a motor vehicle in case there are any sudden movements. It goes without saying, do not undertake lorries or buses if they stop at the junction and they are in front of you. Even if there is an Advanced Stop Line at the junction, you’re better off waiting behind the vehicle. If undertaking on the left in slow moving traffic, only do so if there is enough room and you’re moving faster than that traffic.
Always try to make eye contact with other road users. This is particularly important at places where you as the cyclist are slowing down with other traffic. So for instance, make sure you are seen by other road users at a junction or a roundabout. Always scan your surroundings before you set off again. You will find that as your cycle awareness builds you will have a sixth sense about potential problems and navigating traffic around you.