A hazard is something that may cause harm. For a cyclist hazards may take the form of other path users and special care should be taken when children and older people are using the path. Dogs and other animals, driveways, and road crossing should be seen as creating potential hazards as do changes in the surface of the path, steep hills, puddles, pot-holes, blind corners and broken glass.
Hazards can, and do, cause accidents and injuries. The most serious type of fall is the one caused by a sudden stop that throws the rider headfirst over the handlebars. When hazards such as pedestrians and animals appear quickly in the line of travel, the rider needs to adopt protective behaviours to protect themselves and others.
A rider should always be aware of the surrounding area and should scan for hazards. Pre-emptive action saves accidents. All riders should develop the skills necessary to skillfully control their bike, by starting, stopping, signaling and turning smoothly. In so doing they will be able to avoid hazards more successfully.
When faced with an unavoidable hazard it is important to maintain control of the bike. This is best achieved by keeping both hands on the handlebars in the braking position.