Cycling is an environmentally friendly, rapid and fun method of transport; being almost entirely flat, Oxford is the cyclist’s dream city. With a flux of 20,000 cyclists moving into and out of the city centre each day, the swarms of cyclists that hit the streets at rush-hour will soon become a familiar sight to you. However, cycling is not without risk; regretfully, two Oxford students have been killed since 2004 and many more have been injured. It is critically important, therefore, that you take the appropriate measures to protect yourself as you take to the road.
Wear a helment
- Wear a helmet that meets current safety standards (look out for “BS EN 1078 SNELL CERTIFIED”). Ensure that:
- it does not obstruct your vision or hearing.
- it is fitted snugly, securely and squarely on your head, sitting just above your eyebrows and not tilted backwards or forwards.
- you secure the straps without twisting, leaving only enough room to fit two fingers between the chin and the strap.
At night your cycle is legally required to have front and rear lights lit. It must also be fitted with a red rear reflector and amber pedal reflectors. White front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen.
It is illegal to cycle on a pavement. Do not leave your cycle where it would endanger or obstruct road users or pedestrians, for example, lying on the pavement. Use cycle parking facilities where provided.
Tempting as it may be if you are late for lectures, you must not cross the stop line when the traffic lights are red. Value your life above your speed. On-the-spot-fines are becoming commonplace; on one occasion, police gave 80 £30 fines in just two hours. If you jump a red light and cause an accident, you will also be legally responsible and are liable for all damages.
Never ride more than two abreast and on narrow or busy roads (most of Oxford!), ride single file.
Do not listen to a personal music player or use your mobile phone whilst cycling; if you’re cycling with friends, concentrate on the road – leave your tute dissection for later!
Bicycle theft is common in Oxford. Mark the frame with your postcode and write down its serial number. Consider joining the University Cycle Registration Scheme; for 60p, you’ll be given a UV pen to mark down a unique registration number on your bike and two hologram stickers. Call (2)72944 or visit University Security Services, The Observatory, South Parks Road to obtain a pack. Always lock your bicycle to something solid and not to itself. In the event of theft, registered or not, inform St. Aldates Police Cycle Unit on (01865) 26628.
Check your bike often and ensure that it is well maintained. See this “ABC Quick Bike Check” for pointers – this check only takes a couple of minutes.
The above list is non-exhaustive and you are strongly recommended to consult additional sources for further guidance. The above information was compiled from the following websites: