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Cycling information

Cycling is not only fun, it is also a safe pastime but like most things, you should bear some pointers in mind as your are cycling. Have a look at the questions below for some basic information on cycling safety, the rules of the road and

  • q Any tips on cycling safety in general?
    A Yes, plenty! Above all, use your common sense and try to avoid getting yourself into potentially dangerous situations. At Cycling Ireland, we believe that all road users, whether drivers, pedestrians or cyclists should show each other courtesy on the roads, as we all share the same space. Be aware of what's going on around you, react to hazards and don't seek to put yourself or any other road user in a dangerous or awkward position. As cyclists, we don't like it when drivers make unpredictable movements-and drivers don't like it when cyclists behave unpredictably. 

    Roads become more slippy when it's wet, so you should take additional care in the rain. Drain/manhole covers can also be dangerous so be aware and take steps to avoid cycling over them if possible.

    Trucks and other large vehicles have significant blindspots - if you are cycling in one of these, the driver cannot see you. Have a look at this video from the RSA, especially from just before 2 minutes onwards, for more information: http://vimeo.com/9551375

    Ensure that you have a white/yellow light at the front of your bike and a red one at the rear, and that they are bright and clearly visible. They must be switched on during lighting up hours. Change the batteries as regularly as needs be to ensure that your lights can be easily seen by other road users.

    Cycle assertively - for example cycling in a lane with both a straight and a left turn off it, move into the centre of the lane to ensure that drivers cannot turn left across you.

    Do not cycle so close to the footpath/side of the road that you cannot avoid or react to hazards like vehicle doors opening, pedestrians/animals suddenly moving onto the road and other obstacles like debris, drains or potholes.

    If you are changing road position/lane/turning, signal your intention to do so. First, check over your shoulder to see if your way is clear. Next, signal with your arm outstretched in the direction you wish to turn. If it's safe to continue, proceed with caution.

    Maintain your bike - keep your tyres pumped to the correct pressure (listed on the tyre sidewall), ensure your brakes and gears work properly and make sure that there are no loose parts that shouldn't be loose on the bike.

    When crossing tram/train tracks, try and cross perpendicular to the tracks. It is very easy to catch a wheel in the tracks.

    Although helmets and high-viz clothing/bag covers are not mandatory, we do recommend that cyclists make use of them.

    The sun can sometimes be really obscure your vision, especially when it's low to the horizon like spring/autumn mornings and evenings or when it's wet. A pair of sunglasses can minimise this and help keep you safe.

    It is not recommended to cycle with earphones/headphones on, or whilst taking on the phone. This makes you less aware of your surrounding.
  • q I'm a cyclist. Do the Rules of the Road apply to me?
    A Yes! The Rules of the Road apply to cyclists as well and Cycling Ireland are keen to ensure that our members obey these rules. 

    Cycling on the footpath is not allowed, except where you are accessing a driveway etc.

    You must obey traffic signals, for example stopping at a red traffic light. When stopped at a junction, you should stop behind the thick, white stop line, or in the advanced stop box where provided.

    You cannot cycle the wrong way down a one way street, unless a counter-flow cycle lane has been correctly provided. 

    You should ensure that you switch on your lights (white/yellow at the front & red at the rear) during lighting up hours. 

    Cycling on the motorway is not allowed and is highly dangerous. 

    You are allowed cycle 2 abreast on the roads. Depending on the situation however, it is required that you break into single file to allow other traffic, including cyclists, to pass when it is safe to do so.

    It is mandatory to have a bell on your bike, except those bikes adapted for racing.

    Road signs such as no left/right turn must be obeyed by cyclists. 

    In general, it is not permitted to cycle along Luas tracks, except where it is explicitly marked that vehicles may proceed along that part of the track.

  • q How should I prepare myself and my bike for a cycle commute?
    A Cycling is a simply and straightforward method of getting from A-B, and is made even easier by following these tips.

    Bring a pump, tyre levers and a spare tube with you when cycling, and know how to change a tube. It would be a miserable Friday evening when, cycling home in the rain, you get a puncture and don't have the materials to change the tube. A pair of latex type gloves can also be useful to keep your hands clean.

    Rain gear is useful quite regularly in Ireland. You can get small, light waterproof jackets/trousers that you can leave in your bag so you have them at all times so you stay dry cycling.

    If you need locks in work/college/out and about, bring them with you, or even better, if you can leave your bike locked in the same place each day, you could leave locks there. It is ideal to have 2 different types of lock, for example a U/D lock and a chain lock to try and make it more difficult for thieves to steal your bike. Stay away from thin cable locks which can easily be cut and locks with cylindrical keys-they can sometimes be opened with a Biro in the keyhole!

    Plan your route in advance-know where you are going and how you are going to get there. Know some alternative routes as well, for example if a road is closed that you normally take, what would you do?

    Gloves and a scarf can make all the difference in colder weather and can keep you nice and warm, especially at the start of your cycle.

    Mudguards on your bike can keep you-and cyclists near you, slightly cleaner and dryer and prevent grit/grime from the roads getting onto your and your bike. They are cheap to buy and easy to install.

    Maintain your bike - keep your tyres pumped to the correct pressure (listed on the tyre sidewall), ensure your brakes and gears work properly and make sure that there are no loose parts that shouldn't be loose on the bike.
  • q What sort of clothes should I wear?
    A There are no rules regarding what you can and cannot wear while commuting, and no prizes for the most fashionable t-shirt.

    In general, lightweight clothing that will dry quickly is best. In cold weather, layers of light clothing are often better than 1 or 2 heavy items of clothing.

    If you are getting a cycling jacket, try to get one that can fulfill a number of functions, including being windproof, waterproof and breathable.

    Cycling trousers/tights are normally more hard-wearing than normal trousers and allow you to keep your clothes clean and dry for when you arrive at your destination. For shorter commutes however it may be easier to wear your work clothes.

    It is useful to keep a waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers in your bag at all times, so that you don't get soaked by a sudden downpour.
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