Top five safety tips for Edinburgh by bike


Cycling is on the up, it’s cheap, it’s clean and it can help keep you fit and healthy. However, with the influx of two-wheeled travel, particularly for people commuting at busy times, it’s important that everyone knows how to keep safe for their own, and other road user’s benefit.

Hi Vis

Yes, it can make you look like a builder, or a lollipop man, however it is highly recommended that you stay safe by being seen when on the roads. Although you might be worried about being picked up by the style police for crimes against fashion, it’s worth investing in some fluorescent clobber to avoid being picked up by an ambulance after being knocked over because a driver couldn’t pick you out in your ultra-stylish black gear.

A bell

Particularly for the commuter that is cycle path happy, a bell is an essential. It’s another gadget to clutter your handlebars, but if you’re coming up behind a mum ushering her kids to school along the canal paths in the morning, a ring on your bell to let them get well out of your way is a price worth paying.

Use cycle paths sensibly

Contrary to what many road users believe, cycle paths are not compulsory. In fact the 2004 Local Transport Notes on Walking and Cycling document states that “As a general rule, if you want to cycle quickly, say in excess of 18mph/30kph, then you should be on the road.”

That being said, in many situations it makes sense to be on a cycle path, for example if there is heavy or particularly fast traffic, so you really have to make a judgement call based on your situation. However it’s important not to rule either the road or cycle paths out entirely.

Decent cycling kit

There are plenty arguments on either side of the helmet debate, however, there is no compulsory helmet laws in the UK, let’s just leave it at that. Yet when it comes to other specialist equipment, it’s really worth looking into.

One for the commuter in particular is decent waterproof gear, it can’t be pleasant having to sit in the office in the morning in a suit drenched in muddy rainwater, so some good waterproof trousers and a jacket to go over the top of your work wear can pay off.

Be respectful of other road users

Probably the most important point here is to respect your fellow road users. Regardless of your skill or fitness level, or how much protective gear you’re decked out in, the cyclist is still the most vulnerable road user, so it pays to be sensible. When sitting your Car Driving Theory Test it recommends that you assume that a cyclist could turn any way, and could take up any amount of the road; and it’s worth applying this to motorists when you’re the cyclist.

Keep safe distances, use designated cycle paths where appropriate, under no circumstances undertake moving traffic and keep your aggressive hand signals to yourself. These tips will not only save you from getting hit by something bigger and stronger, but might save you from getting hit by a car too.

If you are involved in any incidents on the road and need to seek legal advice,  Cycle Law Scotland provides cyclists with unrivalled, specialist, personal representation with accident claims.


  1. Great tips!!! All tips are really essential and safety for Edinburgh by bike. I’m so glad it’s helpful.

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