Cycling safety has become a major concern on the South Africa roads as there has been a significant increase in the number of fatal road crashes and accidents involving cyclists.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation has disclosed that the road deaths among our cyclists climbed from 320 in 2015 to a rather alarming 451 deaths in 2016.
Cycling safety is something we need to address in our schools and through awareness of all the platforms available to us!
The beautiful South African scenery allows for much enjoyment on the road and the number of competitive cyclists is also on the increase.
Competitions are well organized and there is careful attention to safety details - it is however during training that cyclists have to deal with the dangers caused by other road users, harsh conditions of nature and the perils of bad road conditions.
The following tips will enhance cycling safety:
Ensure your bike is in good repair.
Always wear cycle helmets to prevent head injuries. Head injuries cause a high percentage of all cycling deaths – much of which can be prevented by wearing a helmet.
Replace any damaged helmets for maximum protection. Helmets must fit properly to be safe. When the straps and comfort pads are adjusted, the helmet should not move forward, backward, or come off. It should sit level on the head and extend down to about two fingers (3 cm) above the eyebrows. Chin straps should be snug without pinching, and the front and rear straps should meet just below each ear when tightly adjusted.
Helmets only work once. If a helmet has been in a collision that required the inner lining to absorb shock, buy another one! Even though the damage may not be visible, the shock absorbing qualities may be deadened.
Wear eyewear to protect eyes from dirt, wind and bugs.
Wear reflective and fluorescent clothing suitable for the weather and time of day that will help other road users to see you.
Obey the rules of the road and know what each traffic sign means - Ride with the flow of traffic, not against it.
Watch out for surface conditions like potholes and debris.
Never ride your bike through puddles, there may be hazards hidden beneath the water that you can’t see
Allow ample time to inform vehicles behind of your intention to turn either left or right with hand signals.
Keep both hands on the handlebars unless signalling
Be very cautious at blind spots- think ahead before you react.
At bends and corners of junctions, do not try to speed past a lorry or long vehicle when turning, the driver may not have seen the cyclist approaching at the near side. It can be very dangerous.
Avoid swerving left and right on the road, ride in a straight line.
Avoid speeding behind a moving vehicle, if it brakes sharply there could be a collision.
Pedestrians should be given priority at all times, remember that some of them may be partially sighted or deaf and may not be aware of your presence.
Avoid carrying any load that will affect your balance and centre of gravity.
On hot summer days, wear sunscreen and bring water to prevent dehydration.
It is suggested that cyclists make sure that they wear an emergency bracelet. There have been a number of cyclists that owe their lives to the fact that they were wearing an identification bracelet or some other means of identification. The bracelet contains a piece of paper with medical aid details, allergies etc. This is very important info for medics to have when treating an injured cyclist as they are often unconscious or incoherent in an accident.
It forms part of an ER24 product specifically for cyclists which is administered via the Gauteng Pedal Power Association. Cyclists can contact their cycling club or the GPPA directly for more information.
For a very comprehensive analysis of all aspects of cycling safety, visit the website Ken Kifer's Bike Pages
On the road and trail with Garmin Edge 1030
Whether you are a competitor, commuter or an adventure seeker, the Edge 1030 is the ultimate GPS bike computer that allows you to ride longer and stronger whilst staying connected.
With a pre-loaded TopoActive Africa map, the Edge 1030 will guide you whether you like to ride on or off-road. It will even provide turn-by-turn navigation and alerts you of upcoming sharp turns. When planning long rides, you can also count on your Edge 1030 with up to 20 hours battery life in GPS mode and with the addition of the new Garmin Charge Power battery pack you can keep your Edge running as long as you do.
With rider-to-rider messaging and GroupTrack1 features, you will be able to let your fellow riders know that you ok if you fall behind or whether you need assistance for a flat tyre. With Edge 1030 you can ride with confidence and ease as the built-in incident detection2 will automatically send your location to an emergency contact if you run into difficulty. The Edge 1030 is also compatible with the Varia range of cycling awareness devices such as the Varia rearview radar that helps notify you of cars approaching from behind up to 140m away helping create a safer riding environment.
The Edge 1030 will also help you monitor your performance, training and recovery to ensure you better prepare for your next race or adventure. You can even customise your Edge 1030 with free apps, widgets and data fields from the Connect IQ store.
The Edge 1030 really is the perfect riding companion to help you navigate, perform and create a safer riding environment on-or-off road.
Arrive Alive Advice:
- Plan a progressive cycling program to prevent injuries.
- Choose appropriate gear and use technology to assist you to stay healthy and safe when out on your bike.
- Stay alert and aware of your surroundings, especially of motor vehicles when cycling on a public road.
1 When paired with a compatible smartphone; GroupTrack can track up to 50 riders
2 When paired with a compatible smartphone; primarily designed for road cycling