Having got a bike, safety will be high on the list of your concerns.
You are more vulnerable when cycling in traffic than in a car, but your concern and awareness of safety plays a big part in keeping you safe.
The best way to offset any hazards is through learning improved cycling techniques.
Unfortunately the road system has been traditionally designed for faster moving motor vehicles, and you need to learn to deal with this environment. (things are changing slowly for the better)
The Wolverhampton area has a selection of special provision for cyclists, of very variable quality.
You may choose to use some of these facilities where they are available, but unless you artificially limit your horizons to the extent of the blue signs, you'll need to cycle on the road in traffic, and it is important to know how to do so.
You have an absolute right to cycle on the road, and need not feel apologetic about your presence there.
Also, don't assume that when you are on a cycleway or in a cycle lane you are automatically safe and invulnerable.
Cycle lanes have many latent dangers.
If you are sharing space with pedestrians (where this is allowed), as well as the intense irritation inconsiderate cycling causes, in a collision you would still probably come off worst.
Two key aspects to cycling safely in traffic are defensive cycling and assertive cycling.
Defensive cycling means being aware of what is going on around you all the time.
Assume that everyone else is going to do the unexpected - the next car door will open in your way, the car overtaking you will turn left across your path, the cyclist at the next turning will pull out in front of you, and the pedestrian ahead will wander into the cycle track.
Decide as you ride what you will do to avoid each potential incident.
Long vehicles cut across corners when turning, so never put yourself on their inside approaching junctions.
Aim to be seen by other road users, and make eye contact with drivers waiting to pull out.
Assertive cycling means taking your proper place on the road, and making positive, clear movements.
Cycle well out from the kerb - a metre or so according to conditions,but don't cycle closer in just because you are being pressured from behind, that gives you less escape room and encourages overtaking too close.
(Although at first it might feel more threatening to do so, riding further away from the kerb will make you safer).
When turning right or using a roundabout especially, position yourself much as you would in a car, using any turning lanes to the full.
It ought not to need saying, but you must obey traffic law.
Pavements are for pedestrians, except where blue cycle signs indicate you can cycle.
Traffic signals and one-way streets apply to cyclists just as much as motor vehicles.
Sometimes, regulations aimed at cars don't make sense on a bike, but join Wolves on Wheels Cycling Campaign to get the rules changed, rather than flouting the law.
WoWcc endorses the methods outlined in 'Cyclecraft' (subtitled 'Skilled Cycling Techniques for Adults').
The book is by John Franklin and is published by the Stationary Office . See http://www.lesberries.co.uk/ccraft/ccraft.htm for details.
Copies are in Wolverhampton library stock.
If you are completely new to cycling, practice away from the road first. Learn how to look over both shoulders keeping a good balance.
Make sure you actually see what is behind you - ask a friend to hold up a hand and you say which one.
Practice signalling and slowing down simultaneously. Do these at normal cycling speed - it is easier to keep balanced when you are not going too slowly.
A mirror might help (to check if looking behind is necessary not as a substitute for doing so).
Ask an experienced cyclist to help you. Watch how they deal with traffic.
Wolves on Wheels Cycling Campaign may be able to find someone to help as a 'Bike Buddy'.
WoWcc is aiming in the future to be very involved in adult cycle training using the CTC syllabus currently under development.
For an appraisal on Cycling facilities and advice on tackling them see visit the Cycle Campaign Networks Campaign for High Standards at