Road safety tips for cyclists

A man cycling. Photo: Pixabay.

Do you love cycling but the fear of unsafe roads stops you? Here are some safety tips from the Arrive Alive campaign to help you stay safe on the road while cycling.

Position on the road

The law says you must ride on the left of the road, but that does not mean on the very edge of the road. You should ride about one metre from the edge of the road/ pavement to ensure that motorists can see you.


Riding with a front and rear light will make you more visible, especially in the early morning or evening. Use a flashing red light at the rear and a solid beam white light at the front.

Reflective materials

Reflective bands around your upper arms are at a good height for normal car headlights to catch in their beam and allow motorists to judge your maximum width.

Bright clothing

Wearing brightly coloured clothing will enhance your visibility on the road, and will also be much cooler in summer. Light colours like yellow, orange and green are most effective.

Passing cars

Don’t pass cars on their left-hand side. Motorists don’t expect anything to interfere with a left turn from the left lane and seldom check in their mirrors before turning. Cars often tend to hug the left of the road, leaving cyclists little space to ride.

Control over your bicycle

This is often directly related to how well you fit the bike, your choice of equipment and how well you maintain it. Worn tyres and poor braking power can be controlled, greatly reducing your chances of equipment failure and a crash. Most cycling-related deaths are directly related to head injuries, so wearing a helmet at all times is an absolute necessity.

Types of bike

Mountain bikes and hybrids are generally more suitable for city riding because they offer an upright sitting position and are easier to manoeuvre than road bikes. BMX bicycles for children also offer this benefit. Although they are more efficient, road bikes with drop handlebars put the rider in a more crouched, head-down position, making control considerably more difficult.


Most accidents involving cyclists and motorists occur at intersections.

Follow this procedure: When approaching the intersection, choose the lane with the arrow that points in the direction you want to go. Ensure you are away from the pavement in order to increase your visibility. Watch out for vehicles turning across your path and prepare to avoid them. Enter the intersection directly in front of or behind the vehicle in your lane so that they can see you. Make eye contact with motorists to ensure they have seen you. Always stop for an orange light.

According to The National Cycling Forum (1999), “Making the roads safer is a powerful incentive in persuading people to cycle more”.

Often there is little real safety risk, but perceptions of danger may still persist and efforts must be made to ensure such misconceptions are allayed (Preston, 1990). Even where fear of risk does not deter the cyclist, professionals should seek to minimise it so as to reduce the resulting social and economic costs of death and injury (European Transport Safety Council, 1999).

Do you perhaps have more information pertaining to this story? Email us at [email protected] (remember to include your contact details) or phone us on 011 955 1130.

For free daily local news on the West Rand, also visit our sister newspaper websites 

Randfontein Herald

Krugersdorp News 

Get It Joburg West Magazine

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Lungi Ndimande

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