- Handlebars should be square with the frame and level with the saddle. Movement should be neither too stiff nor too loose.
- When on the saddle, both feet should just touch the ground.
- Your wheels should be straight and in line. Replace wheels if they are buckled or out of alignment.
- Tighten loose spokes and replace any that are damaged.
- Make sure your tyres are properly inflated, with a good tread.
- Make sure mudguards are secure and well clear of the wheels.
- Check your gears and get them adjusted when necessary.
- Check your brake cables and adjust them when necessary. Replace them when frayed.
- Make sure the closed ends of brake shoes face the front.
- Make sure brake blocks are close to the rim of the wheel. Replace worn blocks.
- Check pedals and replace them when worn or broken.
- Make sure your lamps are white or yellow to the front and red at the back. Use a red reflector. Replace batteries when necessary and clean lenses.
- Make sure your bell is within easy reach of your thumb.
- Oil all moving parts.
- Wear a cycle helmet at all times.
A bicycle should have the following braking system:
- If it has one fixed wheel or is designed for a child under 7 years of age, it should have at least one brake;
- If it is designed for an older child or an adult or neither wheel is fixed, it should have one brake acting on the front wheel and another for the back wheel.
Clothing and Equipment
As a cyclist, you are a vulnerable road user and your bicycle will not protect you if there is a crash. The law does not require you to wear a helmet. However, in the interest of road safety, and in your personal interest, you should wear a helmet at all times.
When buying a helmet:
- look for a mark to show that it has been made to a recognised national standard
- check that it does not restrict your field of vision or your hearing.
When you own a helmet you should:
- replace it when it is damaged or dropped,
- adjust the straps on your helmet to fit you correctly. Always check the manufacturers instructions.
- You must obey the rules applying at traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, pelican crossings and zebra crossings.
- Keep both hands on the handlebars except when signalling or changing gears.
- Keep both feet on the pedals.
- Make sure you keep to the left. Always look behind and give the proper signal before moving off, changing lanes or making a turn.
- Do not take up a position on the 'inside' of a large vehicle out of view of the driver. Instead, stay behind if the large vehicle has stopped at a junction with the intention of turning left.
- When turning left, keep close to the left-hand side of the road and watch out for pedestrians.
- When turning right, get into the left side of the right-turning lane, look behind and give the proper signal before you move out and ensure traffic in that lane is not going straight ahead. On steep hills or busy roads, pull into the left-hand side of the road and wait until there is a break in traffic in both directions to let you make the turn safely.
- When cycling alongside traffic stopped in line, be aware of gaps in the traffic to allow other vehicles to turn across the stationary lane. The view of the car that is turning may be blocked due to the traffic build-up.
- In poor weather conditions, it may be safer to dismount and cross the roadway on foot. Where available, you should use a pedestrian or controlled crossing.
- Wear reflective clothing at all times.