Tips & Tricks: Bike Safety Basics

Cycling is a great way to get around—it gets you from point A to point B all while keeping you fit and helping the environment. Some studies have even shown that it is the safest mode of transportation, particularly for young adults. Even so, around 7,500 cyclists suffer severe injuries every year in Canada, while 70, 000 are treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to cycling, according to the CBC.

Over half of the Toronto population cycles, that’s 54% of Torontonians. Luckily, the Toronto Cycling Network Plan is working on making Toronto a more bike-friendly city. Hopefully, Canadian cities will one day be as welcoming to cyclists as European cities, where cyclist injury and death rates are substantially lower. As this eco-friendly method of transportation becomes more popular, cyclists and drivers will become more aware of their places on the roads and fewer accidents will occur.

Until then, there are many things cyclists can be aware of to ensure their safety on the roads. Here are some bike safety tips and tricks based on facts from the CBC and Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation:

Where you can and cannot ride

  • Cyclists must stay as close to the right side of the road as possible, especially if you’re slower than other traffic.
  • Cyclists cannot ride on controlled-access highways, such as Ontario’s 400-series highways
  • Cyclists are only allowed to walk their bikes through pedestrian crossovers.

Where and when it’s best to ride

If cyclists aren’t planning to ride to and from work, they should avoid riding during the afternoon rush hour—17% of cyclist deaths and 23% of cyclist injuries occur during this time.

The worst time for a cyclist to ride is at night—30% of cyclist deaths occur at this time. Avoiding busy cities and intersections is ideal for a cyclist’s safety—despite traffic control signs, cyclists are more likely to be injured in an area with these features. Cyclists should also avoid rural areas where the speed limits are 80km/h or more—44% of cyclist deaths happen on these roads.

Wearing a helmet

It is illegal for any cyclist under the age of 18 to ride without a helmet.

For any cyclist under the age of 16, a parent or guardian must ensure that they are not riding without a helmet. Adults are not required to wear a helmet, although it is strongly recommended, as it lowers a cyclist’s chance of injury by 90%.

Additional cycling laws 

The following are changes made regarding cycling law after the passing of Bill 31- Transportation Statute Law Amendment Act , effective September 1, 2015: 

  • All drivers of motor vehicles are required to maintain a minimum distance of one metre, where practical, when passing cyclists on highways;
  • Persons who improperly open or leave opened the doors of motor vehicles on highways face increased penalties (commonly known as “dooring”).
  • The fine for non-compliance with bicycle light, reflector and reflective requirements will increase; and
  • Cyclists are permitted to use lamps that produce intermittent flashes of red light.

 

For more information on Ontario bike laws, visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation website. If you know of a cyclist who has been in an accident, have them contact us at our Ajax (905-427-2000) or Barrie offices (705-726-2146) for their free consultation.

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Spring in to Cycling Season

One of the more popular past times when the weather starts to get nicer is cycling. Now that Spring has finally sprung, you can expect to see an increase in the number of people spending time outdoors. Cycling is a great way to stay healthy, remain active and can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Among all the benefits cycling has to offer, there are also a number of risks. Here are our tips on how to stay safe as you kick off this cycle season.

Check your bike

Its been a while since your bike has seen the outdoors. Make sure you give it a once over before you take it out for the first ride of the season. Check for things such as tire pressure and whether the tire spokes are secure and undamaged. Do your brakes work? What about the chain, has it rusted? Determine what, if any, issues you have and what your next step is. Can you fix it yourself, or do you need to call a repair shop? If you’re unsure, bring it in to a bike shop just in case.

Safety equipment

Hitting the road again after a long winter can be a bit nerve wracking. Taking things slow and following the proper steps to being safe on the road can help prevent injury later. We can argue that a helmet is the most important piece of equipment for a cyclist. It can help prevent against concussions and even brain injury. Other preventative safety measures can include adding reflectors and lights to your bike and wearing bright clothes. Keeping yourself visible is the key.

Hit the Road

At last, the time has finally come. Your bike has been through its version of spring cleaning and you’re ready to go. Make sure you check both ways before you cross the street, brush up on your hand signals, and be careful around areas that can become slippery and dangerous when wet (e.g., wood, painted brick).

 

Even if you and your children are practicing safe cycling, sometimes you can still be injured by others. If you or someone you love has been injured by another party’s negligence while cycling we can help with their recovery journey.

Fast dial #1000 free from your cell and we’ll get you the support you need.

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Skye OliverSpring in to Cycling Season
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What every parent ought to know about bike safety

Your guide to make your child’s ride to school a safe one.

Cycling to school can be a great opportunity for you and your children. Not only does it begin creating healthy fitness habits for your child, but it also creates a bonding activity for the both of you.

However, cycling poses some serious dangers to your child. Before you hit the road, or trail, with your kids make sure you read over these tips from Liv:

1. Pick an appropriate route

Before venturing out with your children on a bike-ride to school consider the route you are going to take. Ride it first on your own and notice any key aspects of the route. Are there bike paths available? What is the traffic like when you will be biking? How long or steep is the ride? If the route has lots of traffic, is too difficult for you child’s fitness level, or poses dangers for their experience level you should find a safe and appropriate route for them, or reconsider.

2. Prepare your child’s bike

Kids grow quickly, and that means they can grow out of their bicycles quickly. Make sure that your    child’s bike still fits, and that it works properly. Teach your children to check the air pressure, breaks and chain before hopping on their bike each time to prevent an accident or injury. Also, your child’s bike should have a horn or bell, as well as proper lights in case of inclement weather or riding at night.

3. Get and adjust a certified helmet

According to Ontario law anyone under the age of 18 must wear a helmet while cycling. But it takes more than just wearing one to protect your child. The helmet needs to fit properly. While purchasing a helmet make sure it is the correct size, as well as certified, and before your child wears the helmet make sure you adjust it for proper fit. Never let your child wear a helmet that has already experienced impact.

4. Avoid dangerous clothing

Wearing certain types of clothing while biking can create a safety hazard for your children. Children should avoid wearing footwear that could get caught in parts of the bike—like running shoes with untied shoe laces or loose sandals. Also, loose pant legs or other loose pieces of clothing below the waist can become caught in parts of the bike and should be avoided.

5. Educate on bike safety

Before you and your child leave home on your bikes you should talk to your child about bike safety. Going through the basics of yielding to and communicating with pedestrians, biking on the right side in a straight predictable line, and taking caution at intersections or driveways is a must. Also, have your children practice good communication with drivers.  Making eye contact with drivers to make sure they are seen and using biking signals to communicate with drivers are skills they should learn as early as possible.

Even if you and your children are practicing safe cycling, sometimes you can still be injured by others. If you or someone you love has been injured by another party’s negligence while cycling we can help with their recovery journey.

Fast dial #1000 free from your cell and we’ll get you the support you need.

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