Cycling in London can be fun. Nowadays many people in London ride their bicycles to commute, as an alternative means of transport to work. Some do it because they hate the crowds on public transport and others find it as a cheaper option. But, many people cycle to get their daily exercise routine out of the way on their commute to work.
Visitors who come to London tend to use public Buses or underground trains to travel around the city. Also, many choose to go using riverboats and Uber.
However, others prefer more flexible ways of exploring the British capital and are switching to cycling.
Cycling in London
So, if you are coming to visit London and do not want to use the ever-busy underground train service or the London Buses, you can use the bicycle.
You can easily hire a bike in London for as little as £2 for 24 hours and cycle anywhere you like.
You will be able to go to areas where the buses and trains do not reach. You’ll feel liberated from the crowd on public transport, and congestion on walkways.
What you need to know is that the first time you cycle in London is going to be terrifying. Because generally, London still does not have the best infrastructure for cyclists.
However, a lot has been done to make London a cycling-friendly city, and you can easily see a lot of improvements on some roads.
Best Cycle Routes in London
Nowadays there are blue painted segregated lanes on some of London busy roads for cyclists to use all day long. These lanes are called “London Cycle Superhighway,” and are well signposted.
They are intended to protect people who cycle on London’s busiest roads against accidents. These routes also connect cyclists to train stations and shopping centres.
There are also some un-segregated routes on the less-busy back roads across London. They are known as “Quietways” and are marked with purple signs to help cyclists find their way along the road. These routes appeal to people who are new to cycling in London.
Much has been done to make London a city for a cyclist. And more people are now using bikes to commute to London. However, the increase in people cycling to work has also increased the risk of accidents.
Today, pedestrians are increasingly becoming more vulnerable to bad cycling behaviours. Many cyclists do not obey the road rules — such as road signs, lane markings, red lights, and pedestrian crossings. Generally, cycling in London can be a real challenge.
If you are visiting and want to cycle in London, these things you need to be aware before you visit the British capital;
Remember the Rules of the Road
Regardless of your cycling skill level, you’re better off to wear a helmet whenever you ride a bicycle in London. Doing so can reduce the risk of getting severely injured in case of an accident. More cycle routes in London are on busy commuting roads and are not consistent. Buses, lorries, taxis, and vans are a constant threat to cyclists using these routes.
Wear some bright-coloured clothing or reflective clothing to make yourself more visible to other road users. At night you need your bicycle to have a white front light and a red rear light – many back streets and alleyways at night that are not well lit. It will help pedestrians and other road users to identify you and determine which way you are heading.
When you are in London, you will see many cyclists not using the designated cycle-lanes. Instead, they’ll be weaving in and out of traffic, causing havoc and near-miss accidents.
Also, you’ll see some doing a lot of close passing, and speeding that often result in serious injury for a cyclist or pedestrian. This kind of cycling behaviour can cause accidents and even loss of life.
Some people cycle on the pedestrian footpath because it is convenient for them to do. And they often do it against the flow of the traffic.
Some cyclists balance their bikes at the traffic lights. They do not want to put their feet down on the tarmac. They sometimes fall off their bikes or getting nasty looks from other road users.
Always ride with the flow of traffic and obey road signs, just like you would while driving a car. Make known your intentions clear to other drivers, by using hand signals before you turn or stop.
The most dangerous locations for cyclists in London are roundabouts. So, the best way to avoid having an accident around those areas is to cycle defensively.
Do not expect that other vehicles will go out of the way for your sake. London motorists, particularly the van drivers, always seem to be in a hurry. They can cut you up at full speed, which is not only scary but also dangerous.
Do not check your mobile phone whilst cycling, you can lose concentration and cause an accident.
Watch the Terrain
More cycle lanes in London are rough with an uneven surface that can cause you to lose your balance. Be on the lookout for potholes, gravel, and other roadway conditions that might be hazardous.
If the cycle lanes are available in the area, use them to keep yourself away from traffic as much as possible.
Central London always is full of people from all over the world. Expect to see pedestrians suddenly leaving the footpath and stride into the road, while their eyes are on their phones – they do not look at where they are going.
Some people cycle on the pedestrian footpath because it is convenient for them to do. And they often do it against the flow of the traffic. Riding on the pavements is dangerous to you and pedestrians.
If you need to ride on the pavement, be sure to let your intentions known for passing pedestrians before you do so. Also, be sure to ride slowly and to watch for cars backing out of driveways.
London Cycling Routes Planner
Plan your route. You need to know where you are going before you start your journey. Download a cycle route planner. It will help you find the best cycling routes in London.
The route planner can even calculate three different directions for each ride – easy, moderate, and fast. It can also describe the type of roads you will lead to, traffic conditions and average speed.
Riding a bicycle in London can be dangerous. However, many cycling accidents occur because either cyclists or motorists fail to follow the rules of the road.
Riding defensively and exhibiting proper roadway behaviour are the best ways to make sure you stay safe and have fun when you cycle in the British capital.