Cycling safety is a topic touched on from time to time. I know of some cyclists that have had accidents. Some I know have passed on. There are others that carry the scares. I had a few close calls on my first Trans Afrika and that made me rethink of what I was doing. Think we should look at a few topic.
- The bicycle it self. I thought it would be good to have a bike with as little as possible reflectors, so that I could stealth camp along the road. This is not a good idea. I noticed a big difference the moment I put on yellow reflective tape on to my fork, peddles and on the back fork. Some people spray their rims with reflective paint. I think this is a good idea as it gives the other road users a better idea of what they are going to encounter. I have had truck drivers thank me for making my bike more visible.
- Moving parts. When reflective parts are moving it catches the attention of other road users. Good places to do this is on the peddles and spokes. Then strips around the ankles and wrists. Clothing with reflective stripes on the thighs.
- Clothing. Once I got a reflective vest and added a high visibility Gillet to it, I became a light post. Far to many cyclist where black. Yes, most bibs come in black. However a high visibility shirt or jacket in a colour like yellow and green or even white can make you more visible in the day.
- Tail lights. A good bright red flashing tail light catches a lot of attention. There are some countries that do not allow this. Then try using a solid red light. I have had my batteries go flat and not get the right batteries in small towns far away from the maddening crowds. Carry spares or use batteries that are more readily available. The other option would be to link them up to your dynamo. To make sure that there are no failures. I think it is good to have two red tail lights on the back of your bike. I have also seen people wearing red tail lights on the back of their helmet.
- Front head lights. I good front light lets the on coming traffic know you are there. However this can blind them if to strong. Try to get a light that has a dim function, same as cars have. Remember you need to see where you are going or that could mean the end for you. There have been many a cyclist that have ridden into things and off things in the dark. A head lamp can also help to see around corners and check what is going on with the bike.
- When doing enduro racing. The lack of sleep can become very dangerous. I have had times when I fell asleep going down a hill. Lucky I did not ramp off the side of the road. You can also wobble in front of traffic. Your time to react is also very slow. Best solution is to make sure you have at least 4 to 6 hours sleep depending on what your body tells you. If you are feeling drowsy get off and go have a cat nap. Do not fool your self that you have had a good sleep when camping out on top of rocky lumpy pieces of ground.
- Risk of been attacked. I recommend not showing off your high end bike. Do not load to many expensive looking gadget on the handle bars. Do not flash money around. Rather have a few small notes in a pocket which are easy to pull out. Then hide the other money in a safe place and fill up the pocket when nobody is around. If camping out wait until the sun has set and find a well hidden site. Best in a bush thicket or behind a hill or dirt bump so lights do not find you from the road. If you are unsure of the safety in a area head for a camp ground.
Hope these few pointers will help you keep safe.