Last week was Bike to Work Week and a crew from Slater Vecchio took part. Led by Aimee, the team cycled a combined total of 440 kilometers in one week. So we asked them about the experience and any tips they could share to help make for a safer daily bike commute.
Ilona says: “Cycling to work really gives a great start to my day. I arrive in a positive mood and ready for the day ahead. I’d highly recommend it, especially to those who find it hard to incorporate exercises into their otherwise busy life.”
Of course, if you are going to bike to work, you should put safety as your top priority (see our post from May on biking to work safety tips). As for tips and advice from our team – and what to watch out for on your bike commute – they have their own interesting observations:
- “Be courteous to other road-users: always use hand signals and stick to the right to allow other cyclists and/or vehicles to pass you safely.”
- “Cycling in wet weather makes it harder to brake quickly, so I always brake gradually when approaching intersections on an incline to avoid skidding and crashing.”
- “Stick to the right if you’re slow; it’s very frustrating to try and pass slowpokes on a narrow bike path.”
- “Watch out for drivers who are turning right near bike lanes, because they aren’t always watching out for you.”
- “Always shoulder check before turning or changing lanes.”
- “Never assume a car seems you. Make a noise (like a bell or whistle) when a car is getting close and make eye contact with the driver.”
- “Slow down when approaching an intersection and always look both ways when approaching.”
- “Watch out for car doors opening. Yikes! Not sure I would have ever thought to check for cyclists as a driver when emerging from my vehicle until now.”
Experience truly is the best teacher.
The team also had some good advice on securing your bike and possessions. Ilona offered up a great tip to be street smart as well as bike smart. “I opt to use a backpack to carry my lunch, purse, change of clothing, and such,” she revealed. “Although I have a basket on the back, I’m cautious that it could be a quick snatch while I’m waiting at lights and someone could be off with my belongings!”
Niki suggests that cyclists in the Vancouver area register their bikes with the Vancouver Police Department’s Project 529. You can download the related app 529 Garage for keeping information on your bike, including pictures, just in case it gets stolen.
Of course, sometimes being safety-minded can lead to comical situations. As Nicole noted, “Signaling a right turn does not mean I am waving at strangers on the sidewalk, but sometimes they will wave back at you. It is awkward, but amusing.”
On the bright side, Nicole, at least the pedestrian saw you coming.
Kudos to the team on a great effort and thanks for sharing these great tips.
For more information
- It’s Bike to Work Week! TransLink Buzzer Blog
- Police warn of ‘dooring’ as Bike to Work Week begins, News1130
- B.C. Bike to Work week celebrates the two-wheel commute, CBC British Columbia
- Vancouver area cycling community, HUB Cycling