With the temperatures finally rising, more and more cyclists are taking their bikes out of storage and hitting the streets. Cycling to work, to run errands and for exercise and leisure has immense benefits, but the dangers of cycling, especially in a busy city (like Toronto) are very real.
According to statistics released by the city of Toronto, there were 1,459 cyclist collisions per 100,000 people over a five-year period – this is the highest rate of any city across Canada.
As a cyclist, you are much more physically vulnerable than a passenger or driver of an automobile meaning you need to be alert and aware of your surroundings to keep yourself protected from potentially dangerous situations.
Cyclist collisions are most often caused by poor driving, failing to yield and improper turning. It’s crucial for cyclists to remember that traffic regulations apply to all road vehicles, including bikes. This includes proper signaling, looking over your shoulder when changes lanes and coming to a complete stop at traffic lights and stop signs.
Road regulations and laws apply to automobiles and bikes and as a cyclist you should follow similar maintenance requirements that a car owner would follow. Such as ensuring your brakes work effectively, keeping your tires well-inflated, making sure the tire thread isn’t worn down and seat positioning to ensure safe distance to reach your pedals.
You never want to be invisible, but as a cyclist, that may just be the case on busy roads. Drivers are increasingly more distracted behind the wheel and it’s important to remember they might not always see you, especially drivers of large vehicles and trucks. Having bike lights, using proper communication and staying clear of turning vehicles and opening car doors will help keep you safe chaotic roads.
We’ve complied a few tips to help keep you safe as you cycle through the city.
- Follow the rules, even the un-written ones. It’s essential to follow road laws and regulations, but it’s the un-written ones, such as never pass a vehicle on the right if it’s making a right turn or don’t pass a taxi on the right if it’s pulled to the side of the road, that could keep you safe from harm’s way.
- Be predictable. The more predictable your movements on the bike are, the less of a chance you’ll have of getting in a close call or dangerous situation with another vehicle.
- Know your route. Be prepared and plan your route ahead of time. This will allow you to pick the safest road paths for cyclists and help avoid any last-minute direction confusion.
Do you have any cycling safety tips you’d like to share? Tell your thoughts by tweeting us @OnliaCA #OnliaCA.