The sun is finally shining in Vancouver and the bikes are out in full force. Before you pedal off, it’s a good idea to brush up on your basic safety tips in order to keep yourself out of harm’s way:
Follow the rules
Trails and paths across the city have posted rules, so make sure you follow them. Never bike on the sidewalk and always dismount when going through crosswalks. The same goes for crowded spaces. When on the street, bike in the same direction and on the same side as cars. And in case you didn’t know, bikes on our seawall have a speed limit of 15 km/h.
Put a lid on it
If you’re biking in BC, the law requires you to wear a helmet. Aside from being the law, helmets can protect the head and reduce the dangers of an impact. Pick one that fits well and make sure the strap fastens securely under your chin.
See and be seen
Always make eye contact with others while you’re passing by. That way, you’ll know each other’s intentions. If you are biking after dark, you must have a white headlight and a rear red light, plus reflectors. Given our West Coast climate, you should also use your lights in foggy or rainy conditions when visibility is reduced. Bright-coloured and reflective clothing also helps. You definitely don’t want to get hit by a car, so make sure you can be seen.
Avoid the door prize
One of a city cyclist’s biggest dreads is a car door. To minimize the risk of getting ‘doored’, bike at least a meter (or three feet) away from parked cars. Also, avoid weaving in and out of traffic around cars. It makes you harder to see and harder for people in cars to predict where you might be going.
Did you know? ICBC stats show that between June and September of every year, 740 people are injured in collisions between cars and cyclists. That’s six injured cyclists every day! We need to share the road but we also need to share the responsibility for putting safety first.
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