Check your bike is safe to ride Check your bike is safe to ride

Like cars, it is important that bikes are roadworthy and safe. Learn how to do a 4-point safety check before you start riding.

4 point safety check

Before every ride, there is a quick 4-point safety check that is good to get in the habit of performing:

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1. Tyres

Keep the tyres pumped to the recommended pressure printed on the side wall of the tyre, which should make them feel firm when squeezed. This protects the rim and makes the bike easier to control. Replace tyres that have no tread or if patches have appeared.

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2. Brakes

Test the front and rear brake individually to make sure they are able to stop each wheel. For any rim brake systems, when the brake is engaged, the whole brake pad should be aligned onto the wheel rim. Check the pads are not too worn, and that the brake lever is adjusted correctly so that it does not pull all the way into the handlebar.

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3. Wheels

Check that the quick release levers or wheel nuts are securely fastened so that the wheels don’t fall out whilst riding. Wheels nuts can become loose over time but they can easily be tightened up using a spanner. Quick release levers should be tightened and the lever folded over so that it reads 'closed'. They don’t need to be so tight that a lot of force is required to undo them.

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4. Reflectors and lights

Legally bikes must always have a red rear reflector if being ridden on the road. If riding before dawn and after dusk then bikes must also have a front white and read rear light which can be seen from 200m away.

Headlights should be attached to handlebars and pointing down.

Your lights can be a hazard if used incorrectly. You must not use cycle lighting equipment in such a way that it dazzles, confuses, or distracts so as to endanger the safety of other road users. Angling your front lights down toward the road helps prevent this.

Maintaining your bike

  • In addition to the 4-point safety check, you should also lube the bike chain regularly with specific bike chain lube, this will keep it running smoothly. If the chain becomes rusty or warped in any way then it should be replaced.
  • It's important that you regularly check everything is working and a well maintained bike will increase your performance, reliability and safety.
  • You can undertake as little or as much maintenance on your own as you like, but all bikes should be serviced annually by a professional bike mechanic.

For more information on bike maintenance and what needs to be done to keep your bike running smoothly, keep an eye out for one of our Adult Bike Skills - maintenance course.