Summer’s almost here and that means it’s time to tune-up that bicycle and head out for a sunshine-filled ride. While there are hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of kilometres of biking trails in Northern and Eastern Ontario, you will likely find yourself pedaling down the road at some point during your ride, sharing your space with cars, trucks and even the occasional motorcycle.
They may be bigger and faster than you, but ensuring everyone stays safe on the road is a two-way street. Cyclists need to do their part too, so here are a few tips to make sure you’re sharing the road safely.
No exceptions! It doesn’t matter if you’re only going around the block or across the city. Wearing your helmet could save your life in the event of a collision. But it’s not enough just to buckle one on. It has to fit properly. Your helmet should be snug, level, and square on the forehead, not sitting more than two finger-widths above your eyebrows. Don’t forget, helmets must be worn by anyone under the age of 18. It’s the law!
Being visible to drivers on the road isn’t enough. You have to be alert to what they’re doing as well. Pay attention to your surroundings, don’t wear headphones when cycling and keep an eye out for hazards like potholes, loose gravel, etc. Pay special attention at driveways and intersections and always check to make sure they’re clear before crossing them.
One of the easiest ways to make sure you’re safe while cycling on the road is to ensure you’re following the rules. That means stopping at stop signs, obeying traffic lights and using hand signals to alert others to which direction you’re turning. Keep to the right-hand side of the road unless you’re making a left turn, and follow the direction of traffic. Always ride single file with other cyclists, and if you are using a crosswalk, make sure you dismount and walk your bike across.
Adjust your bike so that it fits you properly and regularly clean and inspect it. Keeping your bicycle in good working order will help you stay safe and spare you repair costs. Check your brakes and tire pressure, and take time to learn how to clean your chain.
For more information about sharing the road safely, or to find out what rules cyclists are required to follow, check out the Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation’s website.