Bikmo, official insurance provider for Cyclescheme have shared their top tips with us for protecting yourself and your bike when commuting.
Now, more than ever, cycling is becoming the most attractive mode of transport for many people. It’s cheap compared to driving or public transport, and it’s also easier to follow current social distancing guidelines. With warmer weather approaching and roads remaining quieter, why not try cycling to work – you won’t regret it.
Our official insurance provider, Bikmo, have told us their top tips they’d give to any new commuters who may be feeling a little apprehensive about riding to work for the first time.
1. Slow and steady
We’ve all been there, chasing the clock because you’re running late. Your natural reaction is to ramp up your speed as you cycle to work. Don’t be tempted by this! It’s important to be aware of your surroundings, especially fellow cyclists, cars, motorbikes and pedestrians looking to cross the road. Speeding will only decrease the time you have to react and increase your chances of an accident. Besides, nobody wants to get sweaty and stressed before the workday has even begun. Leave a little earlier, find a steady pace and enjoy the ride.
2. Stay bright, stay seen
Most cyclists can be guilty of thinking that they are far more visible than they really are. 15% of accidents occur in the dark or low light, so it’s important that you invest in a decent set of lights for your bike and ideally wear some reflective clothing.
There are some great high visibility jackets and gilets out there for when the weather is a tad chilly, or you can wear some old-school hi-viz strips around your ankles and arms. As the sun is making more of an appearance now, you could opt for a hi-viz jersey. Don’t worry, you’ll find plenty of trendy fluro clothing out there.
3. Watch out for potholes
Granted you can’t always spot when a pothole is looming, however, keeping your attention on the road well ahead of you (and not just at your front wheel) should reduce your chances of hitting one.
4. Plan ahead
If you’ve never cycled to your end destination before, it might be worth practising the route ahead of time. Or at the very least, planning your route before you set off. Not only will this make you a more confident cyclist, but it’ll prepare you for things like difficult roundabouts, blind cycling spots and congested areas which could otherwise cause issues if you’re caught off guard.
5. Know your highway code
Before joining the traffic on your bike, it’s also advisable to carefully read through The Highway Code – Rules for Cyclists. If you are more of a visual learner, there are plenty of videos on the internet about commuting by bike and the rules of cycling on the road.
6. Bike lock
Work out where you can leave your bike locked securely. Nearly 45% of insurance claims with Bikmo in 2019 were for theft. Make sure you use a suitable U-lock that loops through the frame and attaches to an immovable object. Use a strong cable to secure quick-release wheels. Check out Bikmo’s ‘locking requirements’ on your policy for more information on theft claims.
Remember - if you have quick-release wheels and you lock your bike through the wheel, a thief could easily steal your whole bike (except the wheel itself) in seconds.
7. Bike Insurance
Should you hit some bad luck and find that your bike is stolen or damaged beyond repair before it has been paid for through your Cyclescheme hire agreement, you’ll still be responsible for paying the outstanding balance. For this reason, insuring your bike with the right level of cover is a sensible precautionary action to take.
Bikmo cycle insurance is designed with commuters in mind. Their award-winning policy covers theft, accidental damage, vandalism, clothing, helmets and accessories, plus much more.
When you buy a new bike through Cyclescheme you’ll be able to activate 14 days free insurance with Bikmo so you can ride worry-free; you’ll also benefit from exclusive savings after the 14 days are over. Bikmo also offers an additional 25% reduction on your premium if you are insuring an e-bike.
If you’re still not sure whether cycle insurance is right for you, read our ‘Do I need cycle insurance?’ article here.