Vision Tactical –
The beautiful South African scenery allows for much enjoyment on the road and the number of competitive cyclists is also on the increase.
Discovery 947 Ride Joburg is taking place on Sunday, 17 November at Riversands Commercial Park.
However, cycling safety has become a major concern on South African roads as there has been a significant increase in the number of fatal accidents involving cyclists.
What are the problems facing cyclists in traffic?
Vulnerability: Cyclists pose little threat to drivers and hence drivers have less reason to be aware of them. Speed is key in determining severity of outcome. If collision speed exceeds 45km/hour, there is a less than 50% chance that the cyclist will survive. Even at low impact speed, cyclists can be badly injured. Helmets offer protection but helmet use varies by age, gender and location. Speed management is therefore crucial in a safe traffic system aiming to provide for vulnerable road users.
Watch out for surface conditions like pot-holes and debris.
Never ride your bike through puddles, there may be hazards hidden beneath the water that you can’t see.
Strength in Numbers
It is important to recognize that there is strength to be found in numbers. Do not go on the road alone and rather find a regular partner able to keep up with your training schedule. This will be very important especially in the event of an emergency.
Inform friends and family when you will be cycling, the road you will be cycling on and when you can be expected to return. Carry a fully charged cellular phone with you so you can request assistance in the event of an emergency.
Equipment and Clothing
Ensure your bike is in good repair.
Always wear cycle helmets to prevent head injuries. Head injuries cause a high percentage of all cycling deaths – much of which can be prevented by wearing a helmet.
Replace any damaged helmets for maximum protection. Helmets must fit properly to be safe. When the straps and comfort pads are adjusted, the helmet should not move forward, backward, or come off. It should sit level on the head and extend down to about two fingers (3 cm) above the eyebrows. Chin straps should be snug without pinching, and the front and rear straps should meet just below each ear when tightly adjusted.
Helmets only work once. If a helmet has been in a collision that required the inner lining to absorb shock, buy another one! Even though the damage may not be visible, the shock absorbing qualities may have decreased.
Wear eyewear to protect eyes from dirt, wind and bugs.
Wear reflective and fluorescent clothing suitable for the weather and time of day that will help other road users to see you.
On hot summer days, wear sunscreen and bring water to prevent dehydration.