Tuesday is the start of Bike Month, which runs until June 30, so it is the perfect time for a safe cycling refresher. Cycling is an easy, cost-effective method of exercise, but there are still too many people hurt, even killed, while riding a bike. Cyclists are most vulnerable during the afternoon rush hour and while biking at night. According to the Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre there were 26,012 emergency department visits in 2010/2011 related to bicycling injuries in the province.
Ontario’s doctors are encouraging the public to take these safety precautions:
If you are a cyclist:
- Follow all traffic laws.
- Know and use traffic hand signals.
- Be alert and aware of your surroundings.
- Stay off electronic devices, which are illegal for both cyclists and drivers.
- Wear a properly fitting helmet. The helmet should cover the top of the forehead and should rest about two fingers’ width above the eyebrows
If you are a driver:
- Wet weather conditions affect your ability to see other road users, especially cyclists. Slow down in bad weather, and be sure to give cyclists plenty of room on wet roads.
- Plan turns and lane changes well in advance, and be aware of cyclist routes.
- Leave lots of room when passing a cyclist, and check for cyclists prior to left or right turns.
- Never follow too close to a cyclist – keep at least a three-to-four-second distance to a cyclist.
- Scan around parked vehicles for cyclists.
Dr. Virginia Walley, President, Ontario Medical Association, said:”When done safely, cycling is a great form of exercise for any age group. When it comes to safe cycling, both cyclists and drivers have a shared responsibility. Cyclists need to follow the rules of the road and be aware of their surroundings – particularly at night, which is when most serious collisions occur. Drivers are reminded to obey the rules of the road and use extra caution around cyclists.” – CNW