Did you know that nearly half of Canadian cyclists feel unsafe when riding their bike? Most fear a collision with oncoming cars and even with pedestrians in the intersections. Some of this fear stems from riding alongside aggressive drivers and not having the skills or knowledge to know how to ride safely in these environments. And while you can’t predict the type of drivers you’ll share the road with, you can be ready for anything by learning these tips to cycle safer on your bike.
Know Your Local Laws
Local traffic laws and cycling rules are put in place for a good reason – for your safety and the safety of others. In Ontario, cyclists have to follow the same traffic rules and also pay the same fines as drivers on the road. So it’s particularly important that you learn these rules and memorize them for your wellbeing.
Don’t Ride On The Sidewalk
Cycling on sidewalks is actually less safe than riding on the road because motorists (and pedestrians) aren’t expecting to see you there – most drivers are looking for cyclists on the road, not the sidewalk. And, since most cyclists are moving fast, they can surprise drivers by appearing out of nowhere, leading to a collision in an intersection or driveway.
Wear A Helmet
Head trauma accounts for a majority of the cycling fatalities in Canada. And considering helmets reduce brain injuries by approximately 90%, it’s well worth wearing one every time you hop on your bike, even if you feel ridiculous. Just make sure you choose one that meets safety standards and fits snug for proper protection.
Did you know that a large amount of cycling-related deaths happen during low-light conditions? By putting reflective tape on your bike, and by wearing reflective clothing and colours that stand out, you can help reduce your risk of an accident ten-fold. In Ontario, you can also receive a fine for not having the proper lights and reflectors, so make sure your bike is equipped with all the necessary safety gear.
Use Hand Signals
It’s just as important for the cars around you to know what you’re planning to do as it is for you to know what they’re doing. That’s why communication is key when you’re out on the road. You should always use hand signals before making a turn or stopping. For your safety and that of others, never proceed until you you’ve made eye contact with surrounding drivers and until you’re certain that they’ve seen you.
Learn How To Position Yourself
While most people feel better facing oncoming traffic when cycling, it’s actually safest to ride in the same direction as traffic. In fact, bicycles in the roadway are considered to be vehicles, and should behave like one – riding in the same direction and following the same rules. If you can match the speed of traffic, it’s safe to ride in the stream, but if you need to ride close to parked cars, make sure to slow down and give yourself enough room to react in case a car door opens.
Inspect Your Bike Regularly
The easiest way to cycle safer is to check your bike. You should never head out without giving your bike a proper inspection. A loose chain or flat tire can quickly turn into trouble, so take the time to do a quick circle check each day.
If you find yourself in a biking accident, make sure you get the appropriate help you need. At Zuber Brioux, we’ll help defend your rights and get you the compensation you need.