Cycle safety and security | Oxfordshire County Council

Cycle safety and security

Tips to help you cycle safely and avoid getting your bike stolen.

The benefits of cycling far outweigh the safety risks involved, but here’s some advice on how you can minimise your risk whilst cycling.

Cycle safety

If you feel that you need to go into the issue in greater depth, it may be worth investing in some cycle training. Alternatively a book such as 'Cyclecraft' by John Franklin is a useful starting point.

Keep your bike well-maintained

First of all, it's important that you keep your bike well maintained. Take a look over our bicycle safety checks (pdf format, 122Kb) for some advice on ensuring your bike is safe to ride. You should check over your bike before taking it out if you haven’t ridden it for a while.

Make sure you have your bike serviced regularly.  Depending on how much you use your bike, it’s sensible to have your bike serviced somewhere between once a year and once every three months or so to make sure it's kept in good working order. If anything comes up in your safety checks, then make sure you get it serviced as soon as possible - this way you’ll save money on the repair than if you leave it to get worse!

Helmets: do they make you safer?

There are two schools of thought on helmets, and whether or not they make you safer when cycling. Studies suggest that if you do have an accident, wearing a helmet (correctly) will minimise your risk of head injury.  However, other studies suggest that drivers are less careful of cyclists wearing helmets, so these cyclists are more likely to be involved in accidents than people who don’t wear them.

If you do decide to wear a helmet, our cycle helmets page gives advice on what kind of helmet to get and how to wear it.

Road positioning

When you’re cycling on the road, be sure to position yourself well. Don’t cycle too far into the edge of the road, as this will encourage drivers to try and squeeze past you when there isn’t really enough room. In addition, the bit of road right at the edge tends to be more bumpy, so increases your chances of having an accident.

Follow the Highway Code

As road users, cyclists are legally obliged to follow the Highway Code; however this doesn’t always happen. Not only is this putting the cyclist breaking the code in danger, but it's also endangering other road users. The code is there for the safety of all road users, and should be followed even when you might think breaking it won’t cause any harm. For example, pedestrians will tend to assume that if the crossing point light is green for them, they can cross, and may not check both ways before stepping into the road.

Be seen

You're much more likely to get into an accident if you can’t be easily seen, so make sure you’ve got and use lights after dusk/in the fog, and it’s also a good idea to use some reflective or high visibility clothing/strips to ensure that you stand out to drivers.

Bike security

Here are a few tips to help you avoid getting your bike stolen.

Get a good bike lock

Get yourself a good strong bike lock: a U lock or chain is usually best. When you lock up your bike, try to lock the frame of the bike to something immovable. Ideally, try and lock your wheels up as well.

Lock your bike where there are lots of people around

If possible, it is a good idea to lock your bike somewhere where there are a lot of people passing by. Thieves generally avoid stealing bikes where they are overlooked - and they are unlikely to know whether the owner might suddenly appear!

Get your bike marked

Register your bike with Thames Valley Police - this will put off would-be thieves, as well as making it more likely you’ll get your bike back if it is stolen.

Last reviewed
20 November 2015
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