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May 1st 2015

Ensure you stay safe on the roads if Tour de Yorkshire inspires you to get on your bike

Ensure you stay safe on the roads if Tour de Yorkshire inspires you to get on your bike

Cycling fever has officially hit many towns and villages across the region following the start of the highly anticipated Tour de Yorkshire.

Cycling fever has officially hit many towns and villages across the region following the start of the highly anticipated Tour de Yorkshire.

More than a million spectators will line the streets over the three-day race – which was inspired by the hugely successful 2014 Tour de France in the UK – as riders complete a route more than 500km (310 miles) long.

Starting in East Yorkshire and running along the coastline, it heads into North Yorkshire and then to West Yorkshire, through Wakefield and Leeds, to the finish.

With Olympic gold medallist Sir Bradley Wiggins among the 141 cyclists competing, the impact will no doubt be long lasting, and is expected to lead to yet another surge in people saddling up and getting out on their bikes over the summer months.

Last year, more than 95,000 people took part in British Cycling registered events in the regions touched by the Tour de France, as total participation across all British Cycling’s recreational programmes increased by 64 per cent.

However, as more and more people take to their bikes, a key and consistent message has to be around cycling safety. When people set out on their bikes, they must have knowledge of how to ride confidently and successfully on busy roads. They must also have taken every step possible to maximise their safety.

An issue which always generates debate is that around the use of safety helmets, and whether they should be compulsory to wear.

Currently in the UK there is no legislation which places any requirement on you to actually wear a helmet, it is simply a matter of personal choice. Only Australia and New Zealand demand the use of helmets by law.

It’s an issue Wiggins himself has spoken about in the past, and as a role model to millions, he has always urged cyclists to do all they can to ensure they are safe.

“I think certain laws for cyclists need to be passed to protect us more than anything,” he said last year.

“Making helmets compulsory on the roads, making it illegal to maybe have an iPod in while you’re riding a bike, just little things like that, would make a huge difference.

“You shouldn’t be riding along with iPods and phones and things on. You have lights on. Once there are laws passed for cyclists then you are protected and you can say, ‘well, I have done everything to be safe. I think we have to help ourselves sometimes.”

It is perhaps a key message to anyone inspired to get out on their bikes in the months to come.

In our work as personal injury specialists at Hudgell Solicitors, we handle many cases involving serious injury as a result of cycle accidents.

We know many cyclists are frustrated by a lack of respect or understanding of their rights on the roads by other motorists, and it can often be the fault of others that leads to a serious accident.

However, all cyclists, especially those relatively inexperienced on the roads, need to ensure they do all they can to stay safe, from knowing the Highway Code to making themselves highly visible and well protected.

Here is our guide to staying safe:

Cycling-infographic

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