One of the reasons that may discourage you from cycling is safety. However using cycling safety equipment will make you feel more confident and visible when on a bike. From helmets and high-visibility clothing to locks and lights, these cycle accessories will help you and your bike stay protected. Read on to discover what’s available to make you feel safer.
Cycling safety equipment for the rider
Made out of polystyrene foam and designed to protect your brain from serious head trauma. Helmets sometimes have reflective stickers or built in red lights at the back to aid visibility. There are many designs for different disciplines, however it doesn’t really matter which one you choose as long as it feels comfortable and you like the look. It is also important that you fit the helmet correctly so that it can do it’s job. We’ve written a great article here to show you how to fit it properly.
Cycling gloves and mitts
Apart from keeping your hands warm, their job is to absorb sweat and avoid compromising the grip on the handlebars. Some gloves come with padded palms to cushion your hands when riding. Many cycling gloves have reflective stitching or reflective fabric incorporated. Particularly useful when signalling in the dark.
These protect the eyes from insects, mud and debris. Any are good, but the ones with a UV filter protect the eyes from the sun.
Cycling safety equipment for the rider to be more visible
One way to be seen is to wear clothing to make you more visible. High visibility jackets and over trousers help cyclists to be more visible even in daylight. They are generally a florescent yellow or orange with retroreflective strips.
The bright yellow or orange stands out from surrounding colours
and the reflective stripes can be seen at night. If you don’t want to invest in a new jacket, you can wear a hi vis waistcoat, over your standard jacket.
If you wear a rucksack when cycling, it is possible that your high vis jacket or waistcoat is no longer visible. Luckily you can get high vis rucksack covers.
Cycling safety equipment for the bike
A bell makes other people aware of your approach so that they are not surprised to see you at the last minute. Especially good on shared paths such as canals.
Make your bike safe by locking it securely when it’s out of sight. Choose a good strong lock to deter casual thieves and if possible lock it to something stable. Cable locks are not as good as they tend to be easier to cut.
Tools and spares
Carrying spare tools can minimise the risk of getting stranded with a broken bike far from home. Find out what tools you should carry with you in our article here.
Cycling safety equipment for the bike to be more visible
You can make your bike visible at night by fitting lights. This is a legal requirement in some countries when it gets dark. They are not so effective in the daytime.
These emit a white beam often using an LED as they are low powered. They are normally fitted onto the handlebars, although they can be mounted on the top of the fork.
They emit a red light, generally using an LED. They can be mounted on the seat post, incorporated into the saddle, fitted ono the mudguard or on the rear rack. On drop bar bikes you can also fit them instead of bar end plugs.
They can be rechargeable, battery or dynamo.
- Rechargeable lights. These lights are convenient because you can recharge them with any device that has a USB port. However, they have a limited lifespan and when the battery stops working they have to be disposed of.
- Battery lights. Initially they are the cheapest lights to buy, but you have to have new batteries available.
- Dynamo lights. They cost nothing to run as they don’t require any batteries. The minus is that they are expensive and hard to fit.
These need to be lightweight. Wear a white one at the front and a red one at the back.
They are usually fitted onto the spokes and can emit any colour light. They improve side visibility and therefore are useful at junctions.
Reflectors can be mounted at the front, rear, on the wheels or pedals. You can also buy reflective stickers that will adhere to frame tubes and mudguards.
When light hits the reflector, it is redirected to the light source.
The reflector only works, therefore, if the viewer is emitting light (e.g., the driver of a car with the headlights on).
Reflectors can add to night time visibility and are lightweight. Because the mounted reflectors are plastic they can easily break and the adhesive ones peel off over time.
- Front. These are white and mounted on the handlebars or fork crown.
- Rear. These are red and mounted on the mudguard, rack or seat post.
- Pedals. These are orange and bolted or press fitted to the both sides of the pedal.
- Wheels. They are white or orange. they help in side visibility.
Rack/seat stay reflector. This lollipop reflector sticks out from the side of your bike so that you get overtaken at a good distance.
Rear panniers in bright colours are available and most of them come with some reflective graphic on the back.
Saddles sometimes have a reflective strip in the back.
City tyres will often have a reflective strip running around the sides.
Find out how to be seen on a bike in our video tutorial here:
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