26 October 2008

Lighting Up

Please, please - cycling in poor weather or in the dark without lights or reflective kit is an invitation to disaster. I've seen too many cyclists (mostly young men) with dark clothes and no reflectors or lights - drivers have to be particularly alert to see dark cyclists --- add in some rain and distraction from other traffic or a mobile phone :( --- and disaster awaits!

Items which move while cyclists are pedalling are excellent to attract attention - for instance hi-viz leg bands with velcro tabs that keep your trousers from getting stuck in the chain

Hi-viz vests offer 360 degree visibility - I use the make in the following link - have washed it several times and it still works well after three years.

The best safety measure is to mount front and rear lights. There is wide choice between self-generating dynamos, LED blinking attention grabbers and so-called ABS systems for 'Blair Witch' lighting on off-road paths. See the following link for more details:

My favs are dynamo-driven front and rear lights - good for commuting and night riding on well-lit urban roads, and the Niterider ABS system for jaunts on dark tow paths. The advanced systems are more expensive but the batteries can be recharged hundreds of times and these are the only lighting systems that provide safe see-and-be-seen lighting where there are no streetlights (or a new moon). See the following link:

12 October 2008

My Thinking Cap

Helmets are an essential safety feature for cyclists. Arguments to the contrary are a bit like the hold-outs on global warming. Not only are helmets essential in helping to minimise head injuries in a crash, but they also have value when attacked - this happened to me two years ago on a London canal. The thugs were kicking my head to get me to release my bike. I joke about my Specialized Deuce as my 'thinking cap' but it really is no joke; limbs can be patched up or even replaced after an accident but there is no ready solution for brain injury. I'm concerned that safety standards have relaxed in this area - see

The Snell Memorial Foundation has the world's most stringent testing standards - there are a few helmets in the UK which meet these standards - see

11 October 2008

Advice from Cyclists' Defence Fund

It's worthwhile thinking about how to respond to a cycling accident before it happens. Follow the link below to a list of top tips from the Cyclists' Defence Fund


05 October 2008

In Memory of Smudge - Killed in Hackney

Geraldine Bedell wrote about ghost bikes, including the memorial to Smudge, in today's Observer:


Antony Smith, 37 - killed on 21 April 2008 as he was cycling to work. May he rest in peace! A memorial bike at the site of the fatal accident - Middleton Rd. just east of the A10 (Kingsland Rd), Hackney, London. There have been two fatalities so far this year on this stretch of busy road in Hackney.