With the warmer Spring weather, many people will be enjoying a day out cycling in the New Forest.

Not only is it a fun way to spend time with your family or friends, it’s also good for the environment and a great way of getting fit!

But before you get on your bike, think about keeping safe on the road with this handy checklist from the Safer New Forest Partnership:

  1. Always wear a helmet and make sure that you and your bike can be seen in poor visibility or at night by wearing reflective clothing
  2. Look after your bike, check your tyres regularly and if something feels wrong when you’re cycling, get it checked
  3. Make sure you always pay full attention when cycling, be aware of other road users
  4. Know your Highway Code – do you have right of way? Check it out at https://www.gov.uk/rules-for-cyclists-59-to-82
  5. If you leave your bike in a public place, lock it securely, preferably to a cycle rack. Safer New Forest sells a gold standard D bike lock for £16, available at New Forest District Council information offices. Securing your bike with this toughened lock will act as a visible deterrent to thieves
  6. Find out more about the New Forest’s cycle routes and road signage at http://www.newforest.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=8035 
  7. If you’re a youngster, why not take part in the Bikeability ‘cycling proficiency’  scheme – there’s support for adults too. Visit the Bikeability website http://www.dft.gov.uk/bikeability/ for more information and to find your nearest Bikeability training provider

The Safer New Forest Partnership encourages cyclists of all ages to keep safe on the forest’s road and cycle tracks.

Cllr Jill Cleary, NFDC portfolio holder for Housing and Communities, said: “The Partnership welcomes all responsible cyclists to enjoy the New Forest and I hope our checklist will be useful when you are planning to get on your bike.

“We support the sale of the high quality cycle D locks in the council’s information offices. They have proved very successful and we hope it will lead to a decline in bike thefts this year.”

  • In addition, the Safer New Forest Partnership supports the Immobilise website www.immobilise.com where you can register your bikes and other property for free. The police then use this information to reunite stolen or lost property with its rightful owner.
  • Don’t forget to security mark your bike with your postcode. Crimestoppers sells a property protector kit to mark your valuables with a unique code. Find out more at www.crimestoppers-uk.org

The New Forest National Park Authority reminds cyclists that much of the New Forest is a working countryside with narrow roads and free-roaming ponies and cattle. It advises:

  • Remember to ride in single file and never ride more than two abreast
  • Pass the animals slowly, giving them plenty of space
  • Look out for and obey all safety signs
  • Don’t pass vehicles (e.g. loading timber) until you know that the driver has seen you and it is safe to do so
  • Off road cycling in the wooded enclosures and heathlands in the centre of the New Forest is only permitted on the approved network of gravel tracks. These are all clearly marked as cycle routes.

For more details on cycling in the New Forest, visit: www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/cycling

Information about the work of the Safer New Forest Partnership can be found on www.safer.newforest.gov.uk or follow us on Twitter @safernewforest or contact Community Safety co-ordinator Stephanie Bennett on 023 8028 5588, email stephanie.bennett@nfdc.gov.uk