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.

No comments
gray_adminTips & Tricks: Bike Safety Basics
read more

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.

No comments
Skye OliverSpring in to Cycling Season
read more

How to Avoid Bicycle Accidents this summer

Cycling is a fantastic way to get from point A to point B, just ask the hoards of individuals who swear by their two-wheeled morning commute. However, cyclists are at risk for injury each time they hit the streets.

Fortunately, if you are a cyclist, there are a variety of ways in which you can practice accident prevention and stay safe. Here are some of the leading causes of bike accidents and how to avoid them:

“The Right Cross

This is the most common way to get hit. A car is pulling out of a side street, parking lot, or driveway on the right.  Notice that there are actually two possible kinds of collisions here:  Either you’re in front of the car and the car hits you, or the car pulls out in front of you and you slam into it.

How to avoid this collision:

  1. Get a headlight. If you’re riding at night, you absolutely should be using a front headlight.  It’s required by law, anyway.  Even for daytime riding, a bright white light that has a flashing mode can make you more visible to motorists who might otherwise Right Cross you.  Look for the new LED headlights, which last ten times as long on a set of batteries as old-style lights.  And headlamps (mounted on your head or helmet) are the best, because then you can look directly at the driver to makesure they see your light.
  2. Wave. If you can’t make eye contact with the driver, wave your arm.  It’s easier for them to see your arm going left and right than it is for them to see a bicycle coming straight towards them.  You could also use a loud horn to get drivers’ attention.
  3. Slow down. If you can’t make eye contact with the driver (especially at night), slow down so much that you’re able to completely stop if you have to.  Sure, it’s inconvenient, but it beats getting hit.
  4. Ride further left.  When that driver is looking down the road for traffic, he’s not looking in the bike lane or the area closest to the curb; he’s looking in themiddleof the lane, for other cars.  The farther left you are, the more likely the driver will see you.  There’s an added bonus here: if the motorist doesn’t see you and starts pulling out, you may be able to go even farther left, or may be able to speed up and get out of the way before impact, or easily roll onto their hood as they slam on their brakes.

The Door Prize

A driver opens his door right in front of you.  You run right into it if you can’t stop in time.  This kind of crash is more common than you might think: It’s the second-most common car-bike crash in Toronto.

How to avoid this collision:

Ride to the left. Ride far enough to the left that you won’t run into any door that’s opened unexpectedly. You may be wary about riding so far into the lane that cars can’t pass you easily, but you’re more likely to get doored by a parked car if you ride too close to it than you are to get hit from behind by a car which can see you clearly.

The Right Hook

A car passes you and then tries to make a right turn directly in front of you, or right into you. They think you’re not going very fast just because you’re on a bicycle, so it never occurs to them that they can’t pass you in time. Even if you have to slam on your brakes to avoid hitting them, they often won’t feel they’ve done anything wrong. This kind of collision is very hard to avoid because you typically don’t see it until the last second, and because there’s nowhere for you to go when it happens.

How to avoid this collision:

  1. Don’t ride on the sidewalk.When you come off the sidewalk to cross the street you’re invisible to motorists. You’re just begging to be hit if you do this.
  2. Ride to the left.Taking up the whole lane makes it harder for drivers to pass you to cut you off or turn into you. Don’t feel bad about taking the lane: if motorists didn’t threaten your life by turning in front of or into you or passing you too closely, then you wouldn’t have to. If the lane you’re in isn’t wide enough for cars to pass you safely, then you should be taking the whole laneanyway.
  3. Glance in your mirror before approaching an intersection.(If you don’t have a handlebar or helmet mirror, get one now.) Be sure to look in your mirrorwell before you get to the intersection. When you’re actually going through an intersection, you’ll need to be paying very close attention to what’s in front of you.

The Rear End

You innocently move a little to the left to go around a parked car or some other obstruction in the road, and you get nailed by a car coming up from behind.

How to avoid this collision:

  1. Never, ever move left without looking behind you first.Some motorists like to pass cyclists within mere inches, so moving even a tiny bit to the left unexpectedly could put you in the path of a car. Practice holding a straight line while looking over your shoulder until you can do it perfectly. Most new cyclists tend to move left when they look behind them, which of course can be disastrous.
  2. Don’t swerve in and out of the parking lane if it contains any parked cars.You might be tempted to ride in the parking lane where there are no parked cars, dipping back into the traffic lane when you encounter a parked car. This puts you at risk for getting nailed from behind. Instead, ride a steady, straight line in the traffic lane.
  3. Use a mirror.If you don’t have one, get one from a bike shop. There are models that fit on your handlebars, helmet, or glasses, as you prefer. You should always physically look back over your shoulder before moving left, but having a mirror still helps you monitor traffic without constantly having to look behind you.
  4. Signal.Never move left without signaling. Just put your left arm straight out. Be sure to check your mirror or loo behind you before signaling (since a car passing too closely can take your arm out).”

By implementing these strategies into your cycling, you will dramatically decrease your risk of being involved in a collision.

If you have been injured, and need legal assistance, call #1000 on your cell phone for free. We will offer you a free claim assessment.

No comments
gray_adminHow to Avoid Bicycle Accidents this summer
read more

Safety Tips for Bikers this Spring

Cycling is a great way to get around—it get’s 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 per cent 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 per cent of cyclist deaths and 23 per cent of cyclist injuries occur during this time.

The worst time for a cyclist to ride is at night—30 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent. 

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.

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

No comments
gray_adminSafety Tips for Bikers this Spring
read more