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Security of cyclists: “Well seen, well protected”


Security of cyclists: “Well seen, well protected”

Shared roads, turning right, both-ways cycling path… many devices have been introduced in Saint-Germain to enhance security for cyclists. Nevertheless, to cycle really safely, they also have to respect the Code de la Route and have a well-equipped bicycle in a good state. Meeting with Emmanuel Fruchard, member of the City Bicycle Committee to discuss security equipment.

Light at the front and at the back: a priority

Just like other people on the road, a cyclist must respect the Code de la Route regulations, a guarantee of his security. Within the list of compulsory equipment, published by the Sécurité routière, brakes (front and back) come first. We can easily understand why and there are only few people cycling with broken brakes. “The challenge concerns mainly lights and more widely all equipment enabling a cyclist to show his presence”, emphasizes Emmanuel Fruchard. “To circulate safely, it is essential to be well seen by other users; especially now that days become shorter. Therefore, it is necessary to have a good light system on one’s bike: the law requires a yellow or white front light and a red back light.   
This device, everyone can choose among various possibilities (lamps/fixed or removable diodes, to be charged via USB or a dynamo etc.). Not everyone knows about it, but the law also requires retro-reflection devices (catadioptres or reflectors); red at the back, white at the front, orange on sides and pedals.

A safety vest reflecting light
“Outside urban areas, wearing a certified safety vest that reflects light is also obligatory for all cyclists (and their passengers) cycling by night or when visibility isn’t good”, adds Emmanuel Fruchard. At night, without a vest, a cyclist is only visible from 30 metres, a distance covered within one second only by a vehicle moving at 90 km per hour. with a vest, the driver sees the cyclist from 160 metres, which gives him time to slow down and avoid him.

Choose the right helmet

Apart from obligatory equipment, there are also pieces of equipment recommended for increasing safety of cyclists.  “This is true as it comes to wearing a helmet”, explains Emmanuel Fruchard. “If he receives an impact on the head, it reduces the wound gravity by 75 percent”. Headphones, that prevent the cyclist from hearing a car that overtakes him for example, are nowadays forbidden. The Sécurité Routière also advises to wear mainly light-coloured clothes or, even better, a device reflecting light all the time. You can also think about installing on your bike a device showing drivers they should respect the 1-metre safety distance in urban areas. You can also have a rear-view mirror on your bike.

Julia Robinson