The everyday cyclist still has very little protection against other road users, so how can he or she reduce the risks?
Firstly, if you are unsure about riding your bike on the road, get some practice off the road, or at least in a quiet area. Better still, ride with someone more experienced than you and learn from them by following and watching.
Joining a club may be a little intimidating for a learner, but it is a good way to learn with a lot of support and encouragement. Most clubs will have different levels of riders, so you should be able to find something (and somebody) that suits you - a quick phone call to the club should give you a good idea of what they offer.