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The following are minimum essential safety tips for people out to enjoy cycling. Although not intended to be dictatorial even if they appear that way, the tips are based on the collective experience of riders in the Thornton Road Club, other clubs, and on the Highway Code – Rules for Cyclists (59-82) de/Cyclists/index.htm. No matter how well written or how rigorously followed, any guide to cycling safety will not wholly eliminate the possibility of accidents. Consequent injury to a cyclist involved in a mishap would be regrettable, but any ensuing injuries to innocent third parties could have serious legal repercussions for a cyclist. The Thornton Road Club therefore urges all its members each to take out third party insurance and to maintain such insurance as long as he or she is an active club member. C.

4. Fit a bell or horn to your bicycle, or be prepared to shout a necessary warning to pedestrians with whom you may be in danger of colliding. 5. When fitting old-style touring mudguards, make sure the metal stays are trimmed-off and have no sharp protruding points. 6. When using a fixed wheel bicycle, check on the chain tension. Never ride with the chain too slack. 7. Never ride with bags or similar impediments hanging on your handlebars. Riding with a club/in a group Thornton Road Club has appointed several ride captains/ride leaders each of whose tasks is to guide and monitor a group ride, especially on matters of route, safety, and group cohesion. In the absence of a preappointed ride leader, an experienced volunteer may emerge on the day of the ride to fulfil that role. The ride leader may chastise riders whose behaviour could jeopardise group safety and cohesion. A group rider should try not to ride with his/her front wheel in a direct line with the rear wheel of the person in front. Never ride more than two abreast even if the roads are quiet. Single out if need be. Watch for riders stopping in front if they are riding fixed wheel machines; they may well be able to stop quicker than you. Call out ‘STOPPING’ if you have to brake sharply. Call outs: A rider calling out ‘CAR DOWN’ or ‘LORRY DOWN’ means a vehicle is approaching from the opposite direction. ‘CAR UP’ etc., means a vehicle is coming from behind (whether uphill or downhill has no bearing on the matter). The old calls used by most clubs in the past, and considered by many to be simpler and quicker to make, are still used by some groups today. They are: ‘OIL DOWN’, or ‘OIL UP’, meaning any motorised vehicle, whether a car, lorry, bus, or motor cycle; and ‘RIDER UP’ or ‘RIDER DOWN’ would indicate other cyclists. ‘ON THE LEFT’ means an obstruction at the side of the road such as a parked car, a skip, roadworks, pedestrian, or slower moving cyclist. ‘ON THE RIGHT’ draws attention to a hazard on the right such as traffic bollards or broken-down vehicles in the centre of the road. Naturally these two calls would be reversed when used in mainland Europe. Lead-riders in a group should signal or call out loudly and incisively when particular hazards are ahead, such as ‘HOLE’, ‘FLOOD’, ‘GRAVEL’, ‘GLASS’, or ‘RAMP’.


A. About you, the rider Always wear an approved hard shell helmet even on the shortest of distances. THIS COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE. 2. Always wear bright clothing which is reflective at night. 3. Always carry a pen or pencil and a piece of blank paper in case you need to note critical information such as a name or vehicle registration number. And always carry a small amount of money and a means of identification. 4. Always keep looking forward even when diverted by talk within a group or when riding on ‘the drops’, i.e. when riding in the head-down position. KEEP LOOKING FORWARD! 5. Watch out for potholes, loose gravel, raised drain covers, broken glass and other hazardous debris, but especially during wet or icy weather. Remember that heavily painted lines on the road can cause a rider to slip in wet or icy weather. 6. Watch out for people opening car doors. 7. Never ride too close to other riders or too close to vehicles in front. 8. Always signal beforehand your movements on the road. 9. Be familiar with the Highway Code as it affects all road users, including cyclists. 10. Always be considerate to other road users, even though some choose to be boorish and belligerent. Avoid confrontation; squabbles gain nothing. Instead, think of what you should do next on the road and on your ride. 1. About your bike 1. Make sure you are in a comfortable riding position i.e., have the correct frame size, a good saddle and seatpost, correct length handlebar stem, with handlebars and seatpost adjusted to suitable heights. 2. Keep your bicycle in a roadworthy condition winter and summer, with working lights where necessary, tyres inflated to recommended pressures, functioning gears, and chain properly adjusted and oiled. 3. Carry a minimum of spares and tools (i.e. spare tubes, tyre levers, pump, and selected Allen keys) either on your bike or on your person, and similarly a suitable re-hydrating drink.


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June 2011