Cycling is a very positive way of getting around the city, both for the overall environment and for the cyclist's physical and mental health - as well as being economical. The risk of being involved in a collision as a cyclist and being injured is far outweighed by the benefits to physical and mental health - estimated by a ratio of 20:1. However those risks can be minimised - both by awareness from other road users and the cyclists themselves. In our city cyclists form a significant proportion of our seriously injured road casualties. We run campaigns and events - wiht partners - to highlight behaviours and actions road users and cyclists themselves can minimise the risk - enabling all to share the roads and responsibility more effectively.
Road safety events
The Road Safety team runs events for cyclists. We also produce and distribute hard copies of the city cycle map - which is also available online here. Hard copies include key safety information.
Brighten up Brighton & Hove
Brighten Up Brighton & Hove campaign reminds cyclists about the law and bike lights in October each year. In 2017 in the commute time, over 80% of cyclists had effective lights. We distributed hi-vis/reflective rucksack covers and basic lights to 400 cyclists who were not prepared. Over 42% of collisions in the city are because people fail to look/see properly. It is vital that you ensure you can be seen easily on the roads. This year we're again working with East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service in the city - in October 2019, as well as doing a couple of activities during the year. Bus drivers highlighted in a recent survey that cyclists without lights/hi-vis in the night was one of their major concerns.
Exchanging Places - raising awareness of blind spots.
Exchanging places is a joint venture between East Sussex Fire and Rescue, our road safety team, HGV businesses and bus companies. (Day Aggregates/Stagecoach/B&H buses/Lancing Driver Training/East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service/Sussex Police). ITV Meridian ran a comprehensive news item here covering the latest event in May 2019. We will be at Take Part at the Level on 22 June and are planning events in the summer on the seafront and as the new term starts for the Universities.
Together we're showing cyclists how they can or can't be seen from bus drivers’ points of view. Exchanging Places events are often combined with a week of enforcement beforehand, encouraging cyclists and other road users to minimise their risk on the roads. Cyclists can sit in the driver's seat of a bus or truck and discuss with experienced drivers each others point of view. See what a cyclist found out here and why the bus company are involved here . If you can't make the event the Metropolitan Police have produced this VR video giving you a seat in the cab.
We often use the Safe Pass mat - and Virtual Reality films to illustrate the safe distance - 1.5m - at which cyclists should be passed. The film give sdrivers who don't cycle the experience of being a cyclist as they are passed somewhat too close.
Sometimes Dr Bike attends to do basic bike checks and repairs.
Limited supplies of high-vis jackets/rucksack covers for cyclists and blindspot mirrors for drivers will beavailable. Just turn up and find out how to best position yourself for safety around large vehicles. We also hope to illustrate the specific difficulties articulated lorry drivers have this year - useful for all road users.
Share the Space, Drop your Pace
The Share the Space, Drop Your Pace campaign is to encourage cyclists to slow down on shared paths for vulnerable pedestrians, and for pedestrians to be aware of cyclists. It is especially important to be careful as some vulnerable people may not be visibly disabled, but can be seriously intimidated by fast cyclists near them.
We are aiming to run Safe Pass action days with Sussex Police again in 2019 to highlight to drivers the need to give cyclists a safe gap when they overtake. This is 1.5m. An example of the action taken is shown in this video from Hampshire. More information is available here. We also use the Safe Pass mat with a virtual reality film to illustrate to drivers the safe overtaking distance - and the feeling of being overtaken too close.
Safer Urban Driving CPC course for HGV/PCV professional drivers.
With Lancing Driver Training Ltd our cycle trainers deliver the certificate of professional competence module - Safer Urban Driving - which gives drivers the experience of being cyclists on the city's roads. Infrastructure and other changes are put in context encouraging the drivers to be more aware of the challenges cyclists face on the roads and what the current training advises cyclists to do - and why. In this video the trainer gives an explanation of the course. It compliments the Exchanging Places activity. In London, TfL and Crossrail demand drivers have completed this CPC module before the driver works on one of their contracts. Some of our tender documents for contracts now have this requirement as well.
Wear a cycle helmet
BHCC recommend using a bike helmet when cycling. The public health benefits of cycling far outweigh the risks of cycling, but a cycle helmet is an effective way of minimising catastrophic injuries to the brain in about 15% of serious injury collisions. We insist on helmet use on our courses and cycling events also generally insist on this as well - for insurance reasons. That is the commercial market showing that there is a risk. Our lead trauma sugeon at Sussex County Dr Goldie Khera - a keen cyclist - recorded this video on his work and why his team want helmets to be used.
The Road Safety team strongly recommend the use of a correctly fitting cycle helmet. Further information is available in a Department for Transport report: The Potential for Cycle Helmets to Prevent Injury: a review of the evidence
The Highway Code
Familiarise yourself with The Highway Code rules 59-82 for cyclists.
It contains advisory and compulsory rules for cyclists. In addition, read our advice in the documents below.
- Advice on junction safety [PDF 34kb]
- Guide to hand signals [PDF 43kb]
- The cycle code of conduct [PDF 20kb]
Also avoid riding too close to the kerb and parked cars, where practical.
Cycling in spring and summer
Please ensure your bike is road worthy, particularly if it has been stored outdoors over the winter. See below for links to skills and maintenance training providers, Highway code rules on cycling, signalling, junction safety and blind spots.
Cycling in autumn
The Brighten Up Brighton & Hove campaign will runs each Autumn when the clocks are about to go back. Visibility is a key issue for cyclists at this time of year. Please use your lights!
Cycling in Winter
- Warm hands are essential for proper braking, but take care not to impede use of brake levers.
- Toes remain relatively motionless even while pedalling so wear thicker socks.
Riding in icy conditions
- Always assume there will be ice after a cold night and start out cautiously. Even if all seems clear, there may be ice hollows in dips or turns.
- Reducing tyre pressure can give better adhesion on slippery surfaces and is worth doing if there is a lot of snow or ice.
- Make every move – starting, cornering and braking – gently.
- Ride in a lower gear than normal. You are more stable pedalling than freewheeling as long as you are not pedalling too hard.
- If you see ice ahead that you can’t avoid, keep going in a straight line.
- Skidding can be caused by sudden braking, acceleration or turns.
- If your back wheel skids, this can often be corrected by easing off power and freewheeling a little, steering straight.
- If your front wheel skids, try to keep your body upright. If your saddle is low enough you may be able to put a foot down quickly enough to counter the skid.
Snow and slush
- Fresh, uncompacted snow is easy to cycle through and it can be best to keep to parts of a road not yet travelled by other vehicles.
- Ridges of ice produced by thawing and refreezing of snow can present serious difficulties. If in doubt, get off and walk.
- Don not be rushed by traffic, or pushed into roadside slush, but try to keep out of other’s way where possible.
Fog and mist
- Use lights as if it were night time.
- High visibility clothing can be a real benefit.
- Keep closer to the road edge than usual so you can follow the road and to allow for the fact that others might not see you.
- Keep your speed down as you will have less warning of potholes and other obstacles.
- Increase following distances – fog and mist can seriously impair braking.
- Hearing is important in reduced visibility – do not wear headphones. Listen carefully for the movements of other vehicles.
- Don’t hesitate to shout or use your bell to alert others of your presence.
Based on Cyclecraft by John Franklin. TSO, Norwich 2007 (4th Edition).
(This is the handbook used by Bikeability Trainers)
Visibility, particularly in the winter months, is essential for your safety. High visibility clothing and accessories will greatly enhance your chances of being seen at night. Over 40% of collisions happen as people fail to look properly so it is important to make sure you are visible. It is recommended that you ride 1 metre from the kerb, where safe, to be seen - especially at junctions. Overtaking parked cars is also a hazard, beware of drivers getting out of their door.
The law requires cycles to have a white front light and a red rear light with a red rear reflector. You are also required to have amber pedal reflectors if your bike was made after 1 October 1985.
Cycling on pavements
Pavement riding is illegal unless it is a shared use path. Please consider the impact on vulnerable pedestrians (the disabled, elderly and very young) of pavement riding. It is intimidating and an impact could inflict much more serious injuries than you think. If you do not feel safe cycling at the busiest junctions, dismount and use pavements and crossings to wheel your bike to a point where you can safely resume cycling. Cyclists should only ride on Toucan crossings where red and green lit cycle symbols are shown.
Seafront cycle route
Be aware that many first time visitors to our city may not be aware of the seafront cycle route. There are give way lines for pedestrians wishing to cross. If you are in a hurry, use the road. Find out more about cycling on the seafront
One of the best ways to improve your safety, skills and confidence on a bike is through training.
We provide Bikeablility courses for children and young people and have recently had funding for adult cycle and maintenance training
The Sustrans Bike It officer also works with many local schools, and private providers.
Cycling in Bus Lanes
Cyclists can also use most of the bus lanes. Some central city bus lanes and corridors (bus/taxi/cycle only roads) do not permit cycling but you will be able to use the road or off road cycle routes at these points. Look for the signs at the entrance to the bus lane. When cycling in the bus lanes, please be aware of the blind spots around buses and other large vehicles. Never undertake on the left side (nearest the kerb).
From May 2012, a trial on the use of bus lanes by motorcycles on two sections of city bus lanes is permitted. This does not include the central city and motorcyclists should not use the Advanced Stop Lines (ASL’s) at junctions.
For more information go to www.BusLaneUsers.info
Below is the cycling safety video Keep Cycling, Keep Safe which was created by Bournemouth University and Bournemouth Council.
Traffic conditions vary greatly from country to country, so the idea of this video is to help keep international cyclists (as well as others) safe on UK roads. The combination of images, graphics, text and voiceover are designed to make it accessible to all students, even those with very basic English.
More general information is available at Sussex Safer Roads Partnership - Safer for Cyclists and cycling in Brighton and Hove.