Cycling is an activity undertaken by people of all ages and is generally safe, although there are certainly dangers when cycling on road in particular with other road users.
You should familiarise yourself with the Highway Code (UK) of other road user guides to understand the rules of the road and what rules apply in particular to cyclists. In general cyclists have to obey all the same rules and car drivers in regards to road signs, traffic signals etc. and accidents can happen when cyclists are unfamiliar with the rules.
There are a number of items of safety equipment that are are essential for safe cycling.
A cycle helmet protects your head if you have an accident, you should always cycle with a helmet as the risks of severe head injury is greatly reduced when your head is properly protected. Ensure it fits well and sits forward just above your eyebrows and the chin strap is adjusted to fit snugly and comfortably. Many shops will help you size and fit your helmet.
Front (white) and rear (red) lights are mandatory when cycling in the dark (in the UK and other places). They should be bright enough that you can be seen and illuminate the road in front of you with out dazzling other road users. Flashing lights make you easier to spot in the dark but it can be harder for other road users to judge how far away you are, so it is often recommended to have a constant and a flashing light on the front and rear of your bike. If you do not have lights then other road users cannot see you properly and you will not be able to see where you are going.
Wearing bright clothing, with reflective clothing at night, can help to make you more visible to other road users by making you standout again the background.
When cycling, ensure loose or dangling clothing is tucked in or tied up to ensure that nothing can get pulled into the moving parts (chain, gears, wheels) whilst you are moving as this can cause damage to the clothing, the bicycle and can cause accidents. Cyclists often wear tight fitting Elastane (Lycra ®) shorts and tops as they are streamlined, breathable, quick drying and do not have any loose parts, but wearing these are not essential. However, cycle shorts and cycle underwear often have a thick padded base to reduce friction from movement between the saddle and your body.
Water bottles or hydration systems are a good idea of you are planning longer rides as it is important to stay hydrated when exercising.
Professional Training: Nothing can compare to professional training delivered by qualified trainers who can carefully guide you through how to safely learn and practice the required techniques in a controlled environment.
Medical Advice: Before taking part in a new sport or activity you should consult your doctor or other healthcare worker to identify any potential risks to your wellbeing. This is particularly important if you are pregnant, elderly, suffered previous injuries, suffering from a long term medical condition, or disabled. Whilst these conditions do not preclude you from taking part in most activities, getting advise can help you adapt to suit your individual needs.