To encourage a healthy lifestyle, more people are cycling to work. Promote bicycle safety by being visible, cycling defensively, and obeying road rules.

Many more passengers in motor vehicle accidents die every year than cyclists. Yet, the deaths of cyclists garner more media attention and attract more sympathy from the public. Everyone knows that a cyclist is a thousand times more vulnerable than a motorist. While statistics in New Zealand suggest that the cyclist causes only 25 percent of accidents, they can do so much more to help themselves avoid accidents altogether.

Promote Bicycle Safety by Being Visible

Cyclists are far less visible than other cars and trucks, especially when it’s dark, raining, or both. Statistics show that most accidents occur during peak hour traffic which is 8-10 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. Aside from having more vehicles on the road during these hours, these hours are often beset by darkness in the winter in New Zealand. And when cycling very early in the morning, there is also the need to be wary of tired drivers.

Allow yourself the best opportunity of being seen by lighting yourself and your bike gear up like a Christmas tree. From the head down, bike gear should include:

  • Reflector stickers and blinking bicycle lights on the front and back of your helmet
  • Wearing a fluorescent vest or jacket that ideally covers your backpack if wearing one
  • Reflector stickers for your backpack if not covered by a reflective jacket or vest
  • Front and rear blinking bicycle lights attached to your front handlebars and rear of the seat stem
  • Reflective panels on the back of pedals and shoes

Promote Bicycle Safety by Cycling Defensively

When one learns to drive a motor vehicle in New Zealand, they can opt to take a Defensive Driving course that reduces the required waiting time before applying for a full license. While there is no equivalent for cyclists, many of the same principles use. Cycling defensively means encouraging cycle safety by cycling in a manner that allows you to be ready for any accidents.

Cycle defensively by employing the following cycle safety tips:

  • Reduce speed or cycle wide of parked cars to avoid car doors opening unexpectedly
  • Cycle as far left as is practical to allow traffic to pass safely on busy or narrow roads
  • Always look ahead to assess potential dangers such as cars stopped or turning
  • Reduce speed when approaching or crossing intersections
  • Familiarize yourself with the official New Zealand code for cyclists

Promote Bicycle Safety by Obeying the Road Rules

Many things incite road rage on urban roads, and one of them is when cyclists disrespect drivers by cycling as if the road rules don’t apply to them. After all, you never see two cars driving side by side and chatting to each other through the window, and you don’t usually see cars running red lights. Even though cyclists take up less room on the road, they should promote bike safety by obeying the road rules to apply to all other road users. And not just for their safety but also to change driver perception.

In New Zealand, the Responsible Cyclists Association promotes the following safety tips:

  • Obey all road rules in the same way that they apply to motorists
  • Give respect first to gain respect second
  • Be positive, not punitive towards other cyclists and road users
  • Keep as far left (or right depending on what country you are in) as is safely practical at all times
  • Actively assist other traffic in passing us safely on busy or narrow roads
  • Signal your intended direction
  • Do not abuse inconsiderate road users
  • Take responsibility for your actions by sharing the road fairly

Cycle for Safety

Between 2004 – 2009, approximately 1500 cyclists in New Zealand were hospitalized with injuries resulting from an accident with a motor vehicle. Decrease your possibilities of becoming a statistic and instead promote bike safety by being visible, cycling defensively, and obeying the road rules.



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