- The beginning of the cycling season is a good time to tune up your bike. Perform regular maintenance and safety checks yourself or take your bike to a qualified bike mechanic to prevent mechanical breakdown.
- Plan your route before you set off, give yourself plenty of time and choose bike lanes and paths whenever possible. If you’re new to cycling, choose routes with less traffic.
- With varying weather at this time of year, it’s important to plan for the conditions you may encounter. This means having reflective gear and lights in case they become necessary. When riding at dusk, dawn or at night, your bike must be equipped with a white headlight visible at 150 metres and a rear red light and reflector visible at 100 metres but consider adding more lights to be even more visible
- It’s illegal to cycle on most sidewalks* and in crosswalks. It puts pedestrians in danger and drivers don’t expect cyclists to enter the roadway from a sidewalk. *According to the Motor Vehicle Act, cyclists must not ride on a sidewalk unless authorized by a bylaw made under section 124 or unless otherwise directed by a sign.
- When turning, shoulder check well in advance, hand signal and then with both hands on the handle bars, shoulder check again before turning.
- Watch for vehicles entering the roadway from laneways and parking lots.
- Always wear a helmet – it’s the law in B.C. Make sure you use an approved bicycle helmet that meets safety standards and periodically inspect it for signs of wear.
- Cyclists must always follow the rules of the road just like any other vehicle. Cycle in a straight line, avoid weaving and try to be as predictable as possible.
- When riding on shared paths, ride on the right hand side to ensure the safety of all cyclists and pedestrians.
- Be aware of what’s going on around you at all times and keep an eye on the road well ahead for hazards like potholes, gravel, glass and drainage grates.
- Ride at least one metre away from parked vehicles to avoid being hit by an opening door or a vehicle pulling into your lane from the curb. Be extra cautious if you notice someone in the vehicle.
- When you’re driving, actively watch for cyclists on the road. Make eye contact with cyclists whenever possible to let them know you have seen them.
- If you’re entering the roadway from a laneway or parking lot, always scan for cyclists and other road users.
- Drivers must shoulder check to look for cyclists before turning right and watch for oncoming cyclists before turning left.
- If you need to cross a bike lane to turn right or to pull to the side of the road, signal well in advance and yield to cyclists.
- Cyclists may need to react quickly and unexpectedly to avoid hazards on the road so as a driver, it’s important to leave at least three seconds of following distance.
- Don’t honk your horn at a cyclist unless you need to give them a warning. A loud honk could startle them or even cause them to fall.
- As a driver, before you or one of your passengers open a vehicle door, check for oncoming cyclists. You also need to shoulder check for cyclists before you pull away from a curb.
From the website: Bike smarts is a handbook that helps teachers, youth leaders and cycling instructors improve the knowledge, skills and attitudes of children with respect to the safe handling of their first vehicle — a bike. The handbook consists of six exciting sessions designed in an easy-to-follow format. Instructors with little or no background can assist children ages seven to 13 to learn safe-cycling skills that convert into the habits of a lifetime. The sessions outlined are based on solid learning principles and curriculum learning outcomes. They emphasize active participation of the learner, appropriate hands-on experiences, a variety of activity and learning options, and individual and group activities.
Another great cycling resource created by the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition is the Bike Sense Manual. The five basic principles promoted in the manual are:
- maintain your bicycle in good working order
- be as visible as possible to others
- learn the skills needed to control your bike
- cycle in traffic safely and predictably
- know and obey the rules of the road.
Here you will find several excellent resources related to road safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers.
On the website above is a great resource created by CAA for cyclists covering buying and maintenance tips, rules of the road, and safety advice. It's interactive and has a friendly quiz to check your learning progress. Check it out at http://bikesafety.caa.ca/cyclists/index.php.
From the website: The BC Cycling Coalition is the leading provincial voice for cyclists. We want to see more people ride more bicycles more often. We work with cycling advocates and professionals from across the province to:
The BCCC is a registered Non-Profit Society. Our member organizations represent thousands of people across British Columbia. We seek to make cycling better for people of all ages and reduce conflicts on our roads and paths makng them safer for all. We believe that more cycling leads directly to happier, healthier, and more sustainable communities.
e-bikes or Electric Assist Bikes
If you and your travelling companion(s) have different cycling abilities, consider an e-bike to keep pace. E-bikes are becoming increasingly popular as the technology continues to improve. Try one out at your local friendly bike store today. Hilly terrain on a bike route? Bring it on.