Bicycle Safety for the cyclist

As the summer is slowly rolling into season; cycling enthusiasts will be gearing up for bike rides. While all levels of cyclists take to the streets and open roads, it is important to remember some safety protocols when sharing the roads with drivers.

Here is a handy review and list of some common things one can do to be safe on the roads and to enjoy cycling this summer:

Make sure your bike is “road ready” – Be sure that the rider is fitted for the frame of bike they are using. Too large or too small frames can be dangerous to control. Make sure to ride a bike which is legal and that the equipment on the bike also covers what is legally needed to ride.

Helmets – A helmet can save your life. An approved helmet can reduce injury and risk of death in the event of an accident or collision. Be sure that the helmet is fitted correctly and meets the CSA approval standards. It is law in Ontario that every rider under the age of 18 must wear an approved bicycle helmet.

Lighting – Your bicycle must be lit with a front white light, and rear red light or reflector when riding one-half hour before sunrise and one-half hour before sunset. Also, reflective strips are required on the front (white) and back forks (red).

Clothing – Highly visible clothing is recommended; especially when sharing the road – yellow and white stand out best at night. Pedal reflectors and other reflective material can also be worn on wrists, ankles, heels, etc.

Being Heard – Cycling can be very quiet; so it is important to warn others as you approach them. By law, all bikes must have a working bell or horn. It is also just as effective or courteous to shout something like “passing on the right” when passing others.

(Straight Line) Riding – Riding in a straight line is important in keeping safe when riding in traffic.

  • Ride in single file
  • Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic
  • Don’t ride on busy streets
  • Only ride on sidewalks or paths where permitted
  • Stop for all stop signs
  • Stop at all intersections

Shoulder Checking – Although this may take some practice it is important to check over your shoulders to see what the traffic behind you is doing. This is vital for making safe turns. Also, be sure to remain in a straight line when checking.

Hand Signals – It is very important to learn and use hand signals so other motorists know what you are doing. Always make sure it is safe to turn by doing a shoulder check before you turn. Be sure to hold your hand signals long enough that drivers can see them.

For a great resource from the Ontario Government please refer to – Ontario’s Guide to Safe Cycling here:

http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/pdfs/cycling-skills.pdf

A quick note on riding in traffic.

Since bicycles tend to travel a lower speed there are two main rules to follow on the road:

  1. Slower traffic is to stay right
  2. Slower traffic must give way to faster traffic when safe and practical.

Taking the proper safety precautions and utilizing the rules or the road are so important in preventing injury and fatality. Our line of insurance products and offerings have you covered in the event of an unforeseeable accident. At Lambton Mutual we are looking out for our policy holders with the best plans and information, so you can enjoy your summer activities. Please be sure to ask us about coverage when getting road ready with your bicycle(s) and other toys this summer.

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