Cycling has become hugely popular in Ireland recently and is set to grow even more, with the Government committed to investing €1.8 billion in the country’s walking and cycling infrastructure over the next few years. So, how can new cyclists stay safe while getting to grips with this hobby?
Cycling is great for your health, with the main benefits including improved cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength. Yet, it can also cause you to suffer some injuries if you overdo it at the start or try things that you aren’t ready for yet.
Knee pain is probably the most common ailment among cyclists, which is often the sign of damage elsewhere in the body. 94% of professional riders said that they suffered an injury in the previous year due to overuse of their bike, and any type of knee pain is most likely due to spending too long in the saddle or riding too hard.
The best idea is to stick to short, flat routes when you first start cycling, with a recognised cycle path being the top option for beginners. You can then look to increase the difficulty level and distance covered as you begin to feel fitter and more confident on two wheels.
Respect Others on the Road
Accidents can be caused by aggressiveness or recklessness by different road users. In the past, we have seen reports and videos of road rage incidents involving cyclists in Dublin and other Irish cities, where the riders are in close contact with numerous cars on busy roads.
While this sort of tension can’t always be avoided in heavy traffic, you should look to steer clear of confrontations by sticking to the rules of the road and being respectful to others. It also makes sense to avoid the busiest road during peak traffic times if you can.
In the cases of accidents caused by others, you may need to look into personal injury claims, which are classed as a type of legal action resulting from someone’s negligence causing another person to suffer injury. You will be the plaintiff if you are injured, and the defendant if you cause another person’s injury.
Keep Your Bike in Good Working Order
There are many different reasons why people have cycling accidents, with a bike that is in a poor condition one of the most important factors. Clearly, having the brakes in perfect condition is hugely important, but there are also other areas that you can’t afford to overlook before going for a ride.
You will want to feel completely comfortable with your bicycle before going out on the road. Make sure that you have a suitable safety helmet and that you fully understand how all of the different controls for the bike work before you head out into traffic.
Don’t Take Any Risks
The smartest approach to starting to cycle is to avoid any risks. This means only cycling in the daytime and on paths that only allow cyclists on them. Wear the correct safety gear such as a helmet and reflective or light-coloured clothing to make sure that others can see you from a distance.
By following all of these tips, you can start to enjoy cycling safely and without too many worries. Before long, it should become one of your favourite hobbies and help you to stay fitter.