How to prepare for cycling in the dark

With winter drawing near it is important to make sure you are prepared for the dark mornings and nights, if you are commuting by bike.

Around 17,000 cyclists are killed or injured in road accidents each year. Statistics have revealed that there is a higher rate of cycling casualties between October and February. During these months the sun rises much later, usually after 8am and the sunsets much earlier from any time after 3:30pm. This means that people who commute by bike are likely to spend most of it in the dark.

25% of cycling accidents occur due to the cyclist having a lack of safety equipment. Don’t cycle in the dark, without the proper equipment and lights. Make sure you can be seen.

Staying visible in the dark

Wear bright colours so you can be seen.

Wear bright colours so you can be seen.

  • Wear bright-coloured or fluorescent clothing, or a high visibility vest.
  • Wear reflective accessories, such as a belt or arm/ankle bands.
  • Ensure your bike has a reliable white front light, rear red light, rear red reflector and amber pedal reflectors.

Will the cycling protest make a difference?

Earlier this week, thousands of cyclists took to London’s streets and rode slowly through central London, bringing streets to a standstill, calling on the mayor to give them more space on the roads. Around 5,000 cyclists took part in the protest, organised by the London Cycling Campaign.

The protest was made up of 20 guided rides across different areas of London, which joined at the London Eye before making their way up to Parliament Square, where MP’s were debating the Get Britain Cycling Report.  Protesters included family members of victims, injured cyclists and accident survivors. The protest was decorated with flags and bells, hooters and stereos could be heard.

Cyclists want more space to be allocated to them on London’s roads and are calling for a barrier of separation between them and other road users.

Protesters took to the streets or London

Protesters took to the streets or London

Cycling accident victim, John Hartley said “Some space has to be taken away from motor vehicles and given to cyclists.”

Debbie Dorling, who lost her husband when he was killed on his bike by a construction lorry 2 years ago said “the only way to stop the fatalities was to create a physical barrier between the cyclists and motor traffic.”

The London cycling campaign are calling for a number of changes to be made to make roads safer for cyclists.

These changes include:

  • A 20mph speed limit in all residential areas
  • £10 to be spent per head on cycling
  • Separation of cyclists on main roads and junctions
  • Upgrade Cycle Superhighway 2
  • Creation of safe cycling routes in Zone 1

But will this protest do anything to help? In many previous cases, we have seen the public protesting only to be ignored.  The government have already rejected the measures put forward on the Get Britain Cycling Report. In addition to this the communities secretary,  Eric Pickles has slated Cambridge for having a pro- cycling policy, which suggests he is not interested in helping cyclists at all. Hopefully the attitude he possess isn’t one that is representative of the majority of MP’s. What do you think this protest will achieve?

 Information provided by the Evening Standard

Fans go crazy for the Tour de France

The Tour de France is one of the few remaining sporting events that you can attend for free. With nothing but the open road, there is plenty of space for fans to set up camp, sit back, relax and enjoy.

To find accommodation in these locations can take a huge amount of planning and many make their reservations as soon as the race route is announced.

Tour De France 2014 is coming to Yokrshire

Tour de France makes fans dreams come true

With fans travelling from far and wide, specialist companies are now popping up offering complete packages for those wanting to turn viewing the Tour de France into a Holiday. One company, Sports Tours International offers a range of packages including a 12 day trip for £2000.

At every stage, start and finish, fans can be found swarming, trying to get a glimpse of their favourite riders and hoping to get photos and autographs.

Many people in the UK, will be able to fulfil their dreams of watching the Tour de France as it makes its grand depart from West Yorkshire, in 2014.  No doubt local cycling fans cannot wait for this huge event to reach their home towns and the feeling of being able to be in the heart of the action without having to fork out a fortune is priceless. The Tour de France 2014, will make watching the event for UK fans easier than ever!

London drivers face points on their license for stopping in bike boxes

A new crackdown by the Transport for London, will see drivers who stop in bike boxes at traffic lights receiving a £60 fine and 3 penalty points if they are caught.  According to the Evening Standard,  Transport for London is close to securing a change in the law which will allow this to be enforced by civil authorities.

Under the current law only police can enforce this, however this is rarely done. Transport for London want to use CCTV and number plate recognition technology to enforce the law. An article from the Guardian in 2010, highlighted the difficulties the police face in enforcing this law. In this Article, PC James Aveling said that “Booking cars which enter the zone is tricky, as it’s not illegal if they stop in one if a light turns red as they’re part-way in. Officers thus have to watch a driver creep in on an already red light. There are also rumours that some officers see the penalty for the infringement – six points on the licence the same as you’d get for sailing all the way through the red light – as somewhat disproportionate.”

Time for a better cycling infrastructure

The director of cycling charity Sustrans said that “Fining drivers who stop in bicycle boxes will help change behaviour so that in the future this issue will need very little policing and our roads will be safer and more harmonious.”

However Paul Watters, the head of road policy for the AA said that “rule enforcement by camera could result in motorists being unfairly punished when there are mitigating factors”

By enforcing this rule in this way, the Transport for London will be hoping to see a change in driver attitude and behaviour to create safer roads for cyclists. This is just one of the many steps that the Transport for London are taking to make London’s roads a safer place to for everyone.

Cycle route in Yorkshire uses former railway line

In West Yorkshire, a former railway line has been reopened as a new route for cyclists and walkers. This line travels between Dewsbury and Ossett and has been renovated with a refurbished viaduct and bridges over the river Calder.

This route is part of a national project run by Sustrans to encourage walking and cycling on everyday journeys.

David Hall, regional director of Sustrans said “It’s good for the local economy to have an alternative route into the shops of the town centre…it also is an opportunity for children to explore their environment safely away from traffic”.

Copenhagen cycle lane

This isn’t the first time that a former railway line has been turned into a cycle route this year, as Britain’s longest cycling tunnel was opened in March. The Two Tunnels Greenway is a disused section of the Somerset railway, which spans four miles from Bath to the Village of Midford. The opening of this tunnel saw thousands of people eagerly waiting to try it, proving just how popular cycling is and the need for safer cycling routes.

So far Sustrans has helped to convert over 1500 miles of disused railway into bike and pedestrian paths.

Learner drivers are given lessons in bike safety

With the tension between cyclists and motorists reaching boiling point, something positive is finally being done to tackle the number of cyclist deaths on Britain’s roads.  Learner drivers will now be taught bike awareness, thanks to two of the UK’s biggest driving schools AA and BSM. Both of these driving schools will include a new segment on driving safely around cyclists. Driving instructors will undergo training backed by the Driving Standards Agency and the Department for Transport, to enable them to educate new drivers.

AA president Edmund King said “I am personally committed to breaking down the ‘two tribes’ attitude displayed between some drivers and cyclists. Often we are the same people. I am convinced that this initiative will change attitudes and save lives.”

Teenage Boy Taking A Driving Lesson

Head of BSM, Mark Peacock said “Successfully teaching a learner to drive safely around cyclists means instilling a good attitude as well as the necessary practical driving skills. Understanding why cyclists behave in certain ways, such as avoiding potholes or how they are affected in strong winds, is key to being safe around them.”

This is a great step in making UK roads much safer for cyclists to use. However, there will still be thousands of motorists, who won’t have undergone such training and have a negative attitude towards cyclists on the road. This negative ‘I own the road’ attitude is what causes accidents and fatalities between cyclists and car drivers on our roads. Hopefully this new segment, will be enforced and be a must have for all learner drivers and tested on the driving theory test.

Asgard MD cycles from Northern France to Spanish Boarder

Asgard doesn’t just sell bike storage units, the staff have a passion for cycling too, which may explain why their bike storage units are so good!

Staff from the Asgard offices have previously taken part in charity bike rides and weekends away spent cycling up mountain tops, but the Asgard Managing Director, Nick Hewitt, has taken it to the next level!

Who needs a Sat Nav?

Who needs a Sat Nav?

Along with a group of friends, he attempted to cycle from the northern tip of France to the Spanish boarder in just 9 days. This would be a mighty challenge for a lot of people and I’m sure I would have given up after the first few days, but Nick and the team managed to beat their target, completing the 848 mile journey in 8 and a half days after spending 54 hours on their bikes. But it wasn’t all work and no play, they managed to fit in some fun along the way at various vineyards and enjoying some lovely French cuisine.

They made it!

They made it!

The trip didn’t go without its hiccups though, with Sat Navs broken on the first day, wrong turns and flooding. But thankfully they all made it back in one piece!  They call themselves ‘The Yorkshire Terries’, a fitting name I think. The ‘Yorkshire Terriers’  team is made up of Nick Hewitt, Garry Ogden, Rupert Pearson, Oliver Garside, Robin Litten, Matt Milbourn and Andy Mullins. Take a look at the highlights of their journey here.