According to the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), approximately 7,500 cyclists are injured on Canadian streets every year. Cycling is also a leading cause of hospitalization from unintentional injury in Canadian children under the age of 14.
Whether you’re commuting to work or just cycling around your neighbourhood, always be alert, pay attention and plan ahead. Familiarize yourself with applicable traffic laws and follow the following rules.
Ensure Your Bike is Safe
Always make sure your bike is roadworthy before your trip. This is especially important for older bicycles. Make sure your brakes are adjusted properly for slicker roads. If you are planning to use your road bike, let a little air out of your tires to increase surface area and traction. Wider tires with tread are ideal for slippery roads.
Make Yourself Easy to See
Whether it’s day or night, always make yourself easy to see. Always wear brightly coloured clothing as it catches people’s attention. Go beyond the white front-light and red rear-light requirement if you enjoy riding at night. Buy cycling clothes with retro-reflective material, or stick some retro-reflective tape on your jacket if you don’t want to purchase specialty gear.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Always pay attention to your surroundings, just as you would while driving a car. According to Bicycling, you should use your senses – you can hear an engine before you see the car, you can see or hear a dog before it chases you, and you can identify problem sounds such as tires squealing, hard engine acceleration or loud music from an open window.