Outdoor biking is an activity that can be enjoyed by a wide variety of people. It can be a form of exercise, or a cost-effective, environmentally friendly means of transportation. It also gives you the opportunity to enjoy the warm weather and explore different parts of your city. May is Bike to Work Month in Ottawa, meaning lots of people will be choosing to bike instead of drive. Regardless of why you bike, it is of utmost importance that you’re aware of the safety risks and precautions you can take to avoid injuring yourself. Road accidents involving cyclists often result from circumstantial factors, and they’re usually avoidable! Most of us know the obvious safety rules, such as wearing a helmet, but there are lots of other preventative measures to consider. Here are some biking safety tips that everyone should know!
Always wear a helmet while biking
If you ride your bike on busy streets, wearing a helmet can prevent a serious head injury if you were to fall off your bike or collide with a car.
Ride on bike paths when possible
While this might add a few extra minutes to your trip, it’s safer than biking on the street, and definitely worth it.
Ride in the same direction as traffic
Try to keep as far right as you can, as wrong-way biking is one of the main causes of car-bike collisions. Also keep in mind that you should not ride your bike on a sidewalk, as this could harm pedestrians.
Obey traffic rules
Many of the same laws apply to drivers and cyclists, such as stopping at red lights and stop signs, as well as yielding to pedestrians.
Keep an eye out for pedestrians
In addition to avoiding close contact with vehicles, it’s also important to remember that you are not the only one who could get injured. Accidents between cyclists and pedestrians happen often, so being fully aware of your surroundings is in everyone’s best interest.
Take extra precaution at night
Riding your bike at night is only advisable if you have front and back lights. It’s important that you can see where you’re going, and it’s just as important for other road users to be able to see you too.
Practice the basics
Regardless of how old you are, there are certain skills that cyclists of all ages should master. In order to bike safely alongside cars and other cyclists, make sure you learn how to stop, and control the speed of your bicycle. Gently press on the brakes when going downhill to avoid too much speed. It’s also important to be able to ride in a straight line. bicycle lanes are typically only about 4 to 5 feet wide, meaning you have to be able to consistently stay to the right of that space. In addition to biking in a straight line, you should be able to look to the side, and behind you without losing control of your bicycle. Balance and coordination are vital, and practice will make you a more confident rider.
If you or someone you know is harmed in a car-bike accident this summer, you have the legal right to seek compensation for your injuries. You can book a free, no-obligation appointment with us to discuss your options.