Here in Britain, we've often been criticised for leading a collectively unhealthy lifestyle, but recent years have seen a real surge in awareness of the importance of physical fitness. Advertising campaigns, television programmes and public health initiatives have convinced many people to ditch the car in favour of pedalling from A to B. In addition, there has also been significant public investment in improving the cycling infrastructure around the country in a bid to encourage more people to try cycling for themselves. There are, of course, many potential benefits to taking up cycling, not least among which is the positive impact on physical health.
There are, however, potential downsides as well. It goes without saying that two-wheeled transport - including both cycles and motorbikes - doesn't give you the same level of protection that four-wheeled vehicles can offer. This means that in the event of an accident, you're far more likely to come off worse if you're on a bike than you would if you were in a car or van, for example. With this in mind, it's particularly important to be aware of your road safety duties, as a momentary lapse of concentration could have far more serious implications for you as a cyclist than it would for other road users.
It must be stated that there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of being involved in an accident. Obviously, many cyclists have no option but to head out on to the road in darkness - particularly in the winter - and with visibility hampered, the likelihood of an accident is considerably higher. Wearing hi-vis clothing, therefore, is advisable.
These garments are designed to reflect the glare of passing headlights, making it far easier for motorists to spot you and give you more space. There are too many cyclists who venture out wearing dark clothing in pitch-black darkness, and this shows a lack of consideration for not only their own safety but also that of other road users.
Unfortunately, it can sometimes be impossible to second-guess what other cyclists and drivers are likely to do, as they are just as prone to losing concentration as anyone else. It's therefore impossible to completely eradicate the risk of being involved in an accident, but you can at least try to mitigate the risk of serious injury. Wearing a helmet can offer protection should you be thrown from your bike in a collision. Head injuries are a major risk for cyclists, so it's well worth investing in headgear to give yourself that extra protection.
If you've been involved in a cycling accident that wasn't your fault, contact a personal injury solicitor to find out whether you're entitled to compensation.
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