Posted 29 Apr, 2019
BIKE SAFETY TIPS FOR 2019
Cycling is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, get around the city, or just get in some exercise. And Toronto is an excellent city in which to do that. But, regardless whether you’re riding on two wheels or four, there are a number of bike riding safety tips of which we all need to be aware. Here is what you need to know if you plan on taking your bicycle on the road this year.
Wear your Helmet
One of the most important bike safety tips for kids and adults alike is the consistent and proper use of helmets while riding a bike. By law, cyclists under the age of 18 must wear an approved helmet, and for riders under 16 it’s the responsibility of the parent or guardian to ensure it is worn and worn properly.
While it’s not strictly illegal for an adult to forgo this important safety consideration, it is heavily advised that all cyclists wear a helmet, regardless of age. The best helmets are made to strict safety standards and fit properly when worn correctly.
Obey the Rules of the Road
It’s easy to forget this important bike safety tip, but a bicycle is technically classified as a vehicle and is therefore subject to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. This means you must obey all traffic laws and that you have the same responsibility as drivers on the road. Furthermore, as a cyclist, it is against the law to carry a passenger on your bike if your bike is only meant for one person.
Always Ride on the Right Side of the Road
As a cyclist, it’s important to minimize all hazards you might experience in your travels. That’s why it’s mandated that all cyclists stay as close to the right edge of the road as possible. This way, the median speed differential between you and passing cars is set to a minimum. Riding on the left side of the road instead puts you at risk of a dangerous collision with oncoming traffic. Remember, always ride on the right.
Have the Proper Safety Equipment
There are many optional safety choices you can equip to your bicycle, but here are the three that are required by law:
A bell or horn in good working order
A white front light and a rear red light or reflector - provided you’re riding between ½ hour before sunset and ½ hour after sunrise
White reflective tape on the front forks and red reflective tape on the rear forks
Optional equipment may include a safety flag, a rear-view mirror and/or reflective clothing.
The Three S’ of Bike Riding
As far as bike safety tips go, The Three S’ of bike riding may be the most important. They’re the general rules of bike movement that you need to remember at all times. The Three S’ are as follows:
While you do have the right-of-way as a cyclist on the road, it’s important that all other vehicles can accurately predict where you’re headed so as to avoid any kind of potential collision. Always remember to ride in as straight a line as possible. This will help ensure safety for yourself and everybody else on the road.
No, this does not mean you have to ram your shoulder into cars that get within less than a metre of your bike. Shoulder Checking is similar to checking your blind spot while in a car. Any time you plan on making a turn in traffic, you must look over your shoulder to check for other vehicles that might impede your ability to turn safely. As Shoulder Checking can make it difficult to ride in a straight line, make sure you practice this important bike safety tip beforehand.
Just like drivers, cyclists must also signal their intent to turn. This lets other riders and drivers on the road better navigate their path. Get to know all of the signals before you head out on the roads.
If you’re a beginner cyclist, just remember to take your time and familiarize yourself with the rules of the road, and the laws that pertain to cyclists. Getting on a bicycle can be a great way to see the city and explore your community, but like with all endeavours, it’s important to put safety first.