Bicycle Safety Tips for Summer

Posted on Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

The Guelph Police Service would like to remind everyone that bicycles are legally considered "vehicles" on Ontario’s roadways. That
means bicyclists must obey the rules of the road like drivers of any other vehicle and must be treated as equal users by all other vehicles.
The best way to avoid accidents is to be prepared and be aware of other vehicles around you.
Avoid common bicyclist errors and common motorist errors, committed around bicyclists.

Here are some safety tips for biking:

1. Obey traffic signs and signals - Bicycles must follow the rules of the road like other vehicles.
2. Never ride against traffic - Motorists aren't always looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. Provincial law and common sense require that bicyclists drive like other vehicles.
3. Follow lane markings - Don't turn left from the right lane. Don't go straight in a lane marked “right-turn only”.
4. Don’t pass on the right - Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right.
5. Scan the road behind you - Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving. Some riders use rear-view mirrors.
6. Keep both hands ready to brake - You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed.  Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain, since breaks are less efficient when wet.
7. Wear a helmet and never ride with headphones - Always wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet has been shown to reduce serious head injuries by 85%. Even a slow speed fall can cause a serious head injury. Riding with headphones can hamper your ability to hear or react to emergency situations.
8. Lock up your bike and record your serial number - Always lock your bike in a visible, high traffic area when away from your home. Last year Guelph residents reported 282 bikes stolen. Although approximately 200 were found, only a small portion were returned to their owners.
9. Dress appropriately - In rain, wear a poncho or waterproof suit. Dress in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes. Wear bright coloured clothing.
10. Use hand signals - Hand signals tell motorists and pedestrians what you intend to do.
11. Make eye contact with drivers - Assume that other drivers don't see you until you are sure that they do. Eye contact is important with any driver which might pose a threat to your safety.
12. Look out for road hazards - Watch out for parallel-slat sewer grates, gravel, ice, sand or debris. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.
13. Use lights at night - The law requires a white headlight and a rear reflector or taillight.  Use your headlight ½ hour before dusk and ½ hour after sunrise to increase your visibility.
14. Use a bell or horn - The law requires that you have/use a bell or horn to sound your attentions.
15. Keep your bike in good repair - Adjust your bike to fit you and keep it working properly. Check brakes and tires regularly. Routine maintenance is simple and you can learn to do it yourself.

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