For the love of God, please learn to cycle

Basic bike safety because apparently some of you need it

Since my return to Cambridge I have become increasingly concerned by the standard of cycling in this city. Surely everyone was not this shit last year? And the fact that I, a person who actually managed to fail cycling proficiency in year 6 and whose driving test ended with the examiner telling me that I had passed but needed to be aware that I was quite a bad road user, am concerned by how terrible people are at cycling, is a sign that we are in dire straits. So, please join me while I tell you things you should definitely know already, but apparently, you don’t.

Image may contain: Road, Sport, Sports, Cyclist, Helmet, Automobile, Car, Apparel, Clothing, Shoe, Footwear, Wheel, Machine, Person, Human, Vehicle, Bike, Bicycle, Transportation

Some of you need to go back to this level, it seems (Image: Air Combat Command)

1) Signalling and turning

When you make a turn, you need to fucking signal! Not like, if the road has a bend in it (I have seen some overzealous freshers signalling to go round a bend, this is both confusing and unnecessary), but if you are turning onto a new road/track, then you actually need to signal properly. Because if you don’t signal, whatever is behind you is not going to know that you are going to slow down to turn and they might actually drive into you and kill you. Not to be dramatic or anything, but that could happen.

And none of this gently putting a hand by your side nonsense, you need to fully stick your arm out so what is behind you can see it. And if you can’t signal and that is why you are not doing it then get! off! the! road! and go and practice in a park or something until you can. Apparently if you raise your hand in the air or put it down by your side that means that you are slowing or stopping but I have never seen anybody do that so I think you would just confuse cars.

Also, please don’t turn until it is safe to do so. I know you are in a rush but it is not worth getting hit by a car to avoid being five minutes late to a lecture. I sound like your Mum, I know, but she was right about this.

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This creepy drawing illustrates how to signal properly (image: Wikimedia Commons)

2) Red lights

Surprise bitch! These apply to you too. Just stop at them and wait, the thirty seconds you save are not worth nearly hitting a pedestrian who thought they could safely cross the road. I can’t believe I’m having to say this, but the other day at the junction near Emma I saw a girl waiting in the middle of the junction who clearly thought that was the right place to stop for a red light and she nearly got hit by about ten cars who were coming out of the junction so, you know that massive fuck off white line near the traffic light? You wait behind it.

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I'm being patronising but you are all being very thick about this (image: Wikimedia Commons)

3) Cycling at night

It is literally the law to have a red back light and white front light at night-time so basically you’re a massive idiot if you don’t. Plus, the really cheap ones only cost about a fiver so there’s actually no excuse when you consider the fine for not having them is £50. That’s just basic economics. If the batteries run out on your lights while you are out and about you should really walk your bike home but I know you won’t, because you are a reckless youth, so just… be careful.

Another law which most of you seem to be unaware of, is that drunk cycling is illegal and you can get fully arrested for it. So don’t fucking do it, capiche? You swerving about the road uncontrollably is actually dangerous, not only to you, but to all other road users as well.

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What cars see when you don't use lights (image: Wikimedia Commons)

4) Where to cycle

Okay another thing that’s a law is you can’t cycle on the pavement. So don’t. If you need to cycle on the pavement because you're too crap to cycle on the road, then I am sorry but get off your bike. And if there is a one way road you should probably not cycle the wrong way down it because the police have been fining people lately (Sidney Street watch out!)

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This is what we all dream of but don't just imagine the 'except cycles' bit (Image: Geograph)

Right, that’s me pretty much done but just a reminder to wear a helmet, because it could save your life when you ignore everything I’ve suggested above and you get hit by a car as a result. In case you feel like swotting up on bike safety here is all the info in The Highway Code.

Stay safe, bitches xxx

[Note: This article was edited to remove the suggestion that cyclists should undertake cars in traffic rather than overtake them].

Cover image: Wikimedia Commons