As the warmer spring weather arrives, many people are choosing to swap their regular commute for cycling. Cycling is a great way to get outside, get more exercise, and avoid rush hour traffic, but it can also be very dangerous. In Canada, an average of 7,500 people are injured while cycling each year. In order to decrease the risk of a cycling accident, take the following steps.
Bicycle Safety Tips
Make sure that you are easy for drivers to see by wearing reflectors and clothes that do not blend in with your surroundings. If you are cycling at night, be especially wary of your visibility, wear reflective gear, use lights both front and back, and do not wear dark coloured clothing.
While it is important to take measures to stay as visible as possible, it is also a good idea to always ride with the assumption that other vehicles may not be able to see you. Cycle defensively, use extreme caution, and do not assume that those you are sharing the road with can see you unless that is clearly indicated by their behaviour.
Use Bike Paths and Lanes
When available, use designated bike paths. Cycling-friendly cities like Vancouver have a number of bike paths (the Arbutus Greenway, for example) that can be used to get around without worrying about sharing the road with motor vehicles. Opt to use these when you can and choose roads with lower traffic when possible. When you need to use high-traffic roads, ride defensively, follow road rules, and stick to bike lanes when they are available. Do not ride off the sidewalk and into a crosswalk expecting vehicles to give you the right of way even if the walk signal is on. Firstly, you are not supposed to be cycling in a crosswalk. Secondly, you tend to move faster than pedestrians and driver’s do not anticipate you reaching the crosswalk as quickly as you can on a bicycle.
Wear Safety Gear
Safety gear is extremely important while cycling and could save your life. Additionally, if you are in an accident and not wearing a helmet, as required by law, you may be denied compensation that you would otherwise be entitled to. Always wear a helmet when you cycle, even if you don’t think you will need it. Invest in a good helmet that fits well and wear long pants and sleeves to help protect you from scraped arms and legs.
What if I Get into a Cycling Accident?
Even following all of the safety precautions outlined above, accidents do still happen. If you have been injured in a road accident while cycling, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and/or damage to your bicycle. Call Hoogbruin today at 604-343-3077 for a consultation with a personal injury lawyer.