'As a cyclist you can do a lot to improve road sharing'.
There has been some counter-intuitive research regarding helmets. Professor Ian Walker, Professor of Traffic Psychology has said that helmets can work against cyclists. He found that cars pass significantly closer to a cyclist wearing a helmet than a cyclist without. He speculated that drivers assessed non-helmet wearers as more vulnerable and gave them a wider birth. The Department of Transport refuted these findings. They estimated the effectiveness of helmets in single vehicle collisions at 50%. A literature review by CARRS-Q in 2010 found that wearing a helmet reduced the likelihood of severe brain injury by 74%.
Queensland, Australia where the wearing of helmets has been obligatory are considering repealing the law. Their research suggests that making helmets compulsary actually discourages participation. The health benefits derived from cycling far outweigh the added risk of not wearing a helmet.
Angela Lee, chief executive of the Bike Helmet Initiative Trust and a nurse consultant in paediatric trauma, says it's clear that helmets make cycling safer. 'It's plain and simple that helmets are effective,' Ms Lee continues. 'If you think of people who have mobile phones, computers, I bet they all have covers on to protect them.'
It's your choice. I wear a helmet
The advantage of hi-viz is not a great as was assumed. However, what is important for being noticed is contrast with your background. The Army use camoflage to blend in, you need to do the opposite.
Modern LED technology is bright enough to attract attention, even in daylight. Motorbikes have their lights on permanantly for a reason. Some countries are looking at introducing a law for mandatory lights, no matter what the ambient light.
We recommend using a rear light whenever you're out, especially when you're out alone and when passing in and out of shade eg under trees.
It is a legal requirement to use a front and back light in conditions of restricted visibility.
Try and keep as a compact unit
Never ride 3 abreast
Communicate with each other, especially if there's a car behind.
If a car is waiting behind tighten up the gaps, so that the time required for the overtake is reduced.
Consider if singling out will assist the car to overtake.
If you are aware a car has been kept waiting for a safe opportunity to overtake, give them one. Slow down or stop at a place where it's safe for them to pass. If they have been waiting then they are considerate drivers; keep them that way.
Simply wave your gratitude to a driver who has shown consideration. Just as you would if you were driving your car. We humans are simple creatures, rewarding behaviour makes it more likely to happen again.
Bicycles are classified as vehicles and the rules of the road apply to them. As a minority group it is important for us all to obey these rules and avoid negative generalisations.