Vancouver, British Columbia – Cyclists and other road users need to take caution as warmer weather approaches, warns the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). May 11 to 17 marks the annual Bike to Work Week in British Columbia.
There are approximately 1,300 crashes and 1,400 injuries involving cyclists each year in the province.
ICBC offers the following top five road safety tips for cyclists, and top five for other road users:
Tips for cyclists:
Brighten up: bicycles can be hard for other road users to spot in busy traffic, and cyclists need to be as visible as possible. The rider should wear bright, reflective clothing. If you ride at night, your bicycle must be equipped with a white headlight visible at 150 metres, and have a rear red light and rear red reflector. Even if you are doing all of these things, never assume a driver has seen you.
Don’t rush: stop and look in all directions before cycling out of an intersection, driveway or lane. The majority of all children’s cycling crashes are caused by the child riding into the roadway without looking. All cyclists must obey stop signs and other traffic control devices and enforcement.
Start at the top: it’s the law in B.C. to wear an approved bicycle helmet. Helmets could prevent up to 85 per cent of serious injuries, which account for 80 per cent of all bicycle-related deaths. The helmet should be snug but not comfortable, and should not roll off your head when the chin strap is secured.
Get well positioned: don’t weave in and out of traffic, avoid riding in vehicle blind spots, and ride on the right side of the road, in single file.
Be defensive: it is fine to ride in an assertive manner, but think and look well ahead. Pay particular attention to vehicles turning at intersections, and slow down and take it easy on curves.
Tips for other road users:
Keep your eyes peeled: always actively look for cyclists in traffic. Wherever possible, make eye contact with the cyclist. Shoulder checking is important, especially when making right-hand turns at intersections, or before opening a vehicle door.
Put things in perspective: it is often difficult to judge the distance of a bicycle as it is approaching, especially when turning left. Be extra cautious for cyclists, especially when turning at intersections. Before you pass another vehicle, check for oncoming cyclists or bicycles ahead of the vehicle you are passing.
Don’t get close: yield to people on bicycles, and keep at least three seconds of following distance. Make sure there is enough space when you pass a cyclist.
Keep out: do not drive, stop or park in a bicycle lane. If you need to cross a bicycle lane to turn right or pull to the side of the road, be sure to signal well ahead, and always yield to cyclists.
Be considerate: cyclists are vulnerable road users and don’t have the protection of a vehicle or seatbelt. Don’t honk your horn at cyclists unless you need to give a warning, as you could startle them or even cause them to fall.