On a bicycle you are the most vulnerable of road users. You and your flimsy machine share the tarmac with heavy metal monsters weighing several tons. You can keep yourself safe by being aware of everything around you, and the potential for accidents. Here are some rules which will help keep you on your bike:
1. Don't expect other vehicles to see you. They may not be looking out for something as small and slow as a person on a bike. So before you make a manoever, make sure that you have been seen. Use clear, assertive hand signals and wear eye-catching clothing. Make eye contact with other drivers if possible, so you can be sure you have been noticed.
2. Wear a helmet. Always. Don't listen to your iPod while riding. Sorry, but you need all your senses and your wits about you.
3. Be continually aware of the surrounding traffic and what it might do. Expect it to act stupidly and make mistakes. Be a defensive rider, predicting how other traffic might put you at risk.
4. Keep your bike, especially the brakes, in perfect working condition. Know what your braking distance is and bear in mind the braking distance requirements of other road users. Your brakes may be almost useless in the rain.
5. Other vehicles have blind spots - avoid riding beside or behind a vehicle if you suspect you aren't visible to the driver.
6. Take care when riding beside a line of parked cars. Someone getting out can so easily open a door in your path, sending you head over heels into the path of an oncoming car.