Bike to work week has arrived! No better way to foster increased activity, better health and improved quality of life than strapping on your helmet, slipping into your favourite cycling shoes, and saddling up on your metal (or carbon fibre) horse for the morning and afternoon commute!
By now you should have your bike tuned up and ready to rock. If it’s still hiding out in the garage and you're not accustomed to tuning it up yourself, take it to your local bike shop for a spring spruce up.
According to ICBC, there are approximately 1,300 crashes and 1,400 injuries involving cyclists each year in BC. This being said, it's essential that we make safety a priority this week and here are some tips (adapted from ICBC) to keep in mind before you hit the road and while you're on it:
1. Protect your noggin: Helmets alone are known to protect against 80% of all serious injuries which lead to approx. 85% of all bicycle deaths. If this isn't enough motivation, you should know that it's against the law not to wear a helmet in BC and you could be fined.
2. Brighten up & flaunt your appearance: Bicycles are notorious for being hard to spot in the slush of busy traffic. To prevent accidents, it's essential to wear bright and reflective clothing. In addition and especially if you're traveling in the dark, your bike needs a front headlight which can be seen from 150 meters, as well as have a rear red light and red reflector.
3. Don't rush, obey the rules of the road and yield to pedestrians!: Most accidents, especially with children, occur as a result of not looking prior to leaving an intersection, driveway or lane. Take your time and remember that cyclists, like cars, have to follow the rules of the road (e.g. stop, yield, signal, etc.).
4. Get well positioned & get defensive: Don’t weave in and out of traffic like a daredevil, keep yourself in a spot visible to all motorists and out of blind spots. Cyclists should be on the right side of the road and in single file. In addition, it’s ok to be assertive; however, you need to think, look well ahead and be prepared to divert collisions as most accidents end up in injury to the cyclist vs. the other vehicles involved.
5. Avoid the use of headphones and mobile electronics on the bike: These are unnecessary distractions and are a well known cause of accidents while on the road.
Have fun and BE SAFE!
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