Cycling improves human health and contributes to the reduction of environmental impact caused by motorized traffic.
Cycling is easy, environmental friendly and ideal daily transport mode for everyone.
Cyclists cause no significant danger, but they themselves are and feel vulnerable when moving in the same space as motorized traffic. Risk results from the major differences in mass and speed. Therefore cyclists should pay extra attention and always obey traffic rules in order to minimize traffic accident risks and enjoy a safe and comfortable ride.
Bicycle is a vehicle and cyclists are required to obey traffic laws (Greek Highway Safety Code: Ν.2696/1999, Greek Government Gazette 57/Α/23.03.1999).
Below there are given some simple safety tips for cyclists (and drivers) to help you stay safe on the road.
- Cyclists are required always to obey traffic laws.
- Use cycling infrastructure – if available – otherwise choose low-traffic volume and low-speed roads.
- Think ahead, assess the risks and adjust your speed and behavior to the traffic conditions.
- Ride positively, decisively and well clear of the kerb. Unstable or scared cycling occasionally causes aggressive behaviors by drivers.
- Keep a safe distance from pedestrians, kerbs, sidewalks, moving and parked cars (risk of opening doors)
- Cyclists should keep as far to the right as practicable, moving left to avoid hazards and to position themselves in order to overtake or to turn left.
- In some cases, such as narrow streets and intersections, cyclists should claim the lane in order enhance their visibility.
- Pay extra attention when crossing an intersection, even if you have a "green light".
- Position yourself in the correct lane on time, when you want to turn right or left.
- Get yourself in the right position in the lane of the road on time, when you want to make a turn. Indicate your intentions to other road users.
- Hand signals are required to alert motorists, pedestrians and other cyclists of intentions
- For left turn, extend left arm straight out from the shoulder
- For right turn, extend right arm straight out from the shoulder
- For stopping / braking, extend your arm vertically and wave your extended palm up and down
- Safe cycling requires stability and good balancing, avoiding zigzagging.
- Hold the handlebars loosely and steadily with both hands (except when it is necessary to indicate a turn) and look ahead, trying to have a broad view of the road.
- Before overtaking a vehicle or an obstacle check the traffic conditions around you (especially behind you), adjust your speed, position yourself correctly on the road and overtake while keeping the appropriate distance.
- Keep a safe distance of 1,00 – 1,50 meters when overtaking.
- Always overtake a stopped bus or a taxi in front of you from the left side, since passengers may be getting on or off and there is a high accident risk.
- When a vehicle overtakes you keep a steady course and speed.
- In some occasions cycling faster guarantees safety. In general, it is recommended to avoid being overtaken.
- When you cross a road using a pedestrian crossing it is recommended that you dismount and walk the bike across.
- Pay extra attention when you ride to get on/off sidewalks without a transition. Ride as straight as possible and take your weight off the saddle by lifting your body:
- forward in order to get on
- backwards in order to get off
- In order to cross railway tracks safely go slowly as straight as possible and stand on the pedals when crossing over particularly bumpy tracks.
- Avoid with gradual course changes road surface hazards, such as holes, depressions or raised surfaces, loose or slippery surfaces, sharp objects. If you cannot avoid them go through them slowly keeping the bicycle as upright as possible.
- When turning in signalized intersections operating a flashing yellow arrow, pay extra attention to pedestrians.
- Avoid cycling on sidewalks and/or pedestrianized areas in rush hours, while pedestrian densities are too high.
- Respect pedestrians when cycling on the sidewalk and/or pedestrianized areas.
- When cycling on the sidewalk and/or pedestrianized areas always watch out for children, elderly people, disabled and animals.
- Safely cycling at night requires use of front and rear lights and reflective vest to improve visibility.
- While cycling avoid high-risk behaviors.
- In case of a traffic accident do not panic, get off the road and deal with the incident away from moving traffic, sit back, drink some water, accept help from others and if necessary call for help.
Use of bike helmet is recommended even for short cycling trips, even when cycling on “quiet” streets.