Vancouver, British Columbia – May 31 to June 6 is the annual Bike To Work Week in British Columbia, and the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is warning cyclists and motorists to take extra caution.

Each year, there are approximately 1,300 crashes and 1,400 injuries involving cyclists in the province. ICBC offers the following tips:

For cyclists:

Wear bright, reflective clothing to make yourself as visible as possible. If you ride at night, your bicycle must have a white headlight visible at 150 metres, and have a rear red light and red rear reflector. No matter what, never assume you have been seen by a driver.

– Stop and look in all directions before cycling out of an intersection, driveway or lane. The majority of all cycling crashes involving children are caused by a child riding onto a roadway without looking.

– It is the law in B.C. to wear an approved bicycle helmet that meets safety standards. Helmets can prevent up to 85 per cent of serious injuries. It should be snug but not uncomfortable, and should not be able to roll off your head when the chin strap is secured.

– Don’t weave in and out of traffic. Cyclists should ride on the right side of the road, in single file, avoiding the blind spots of other road users.

– Be defensive, thinking and looking well ahead. Pay particular attention for vehicles turning at intersections, and slow down in curves.

For other road users:

Always look for cyclists in traffic, especially at intersections. Whenever possible, make eye contact to ensure the cyclist knows you have seen him. Make sure you understand all of the hand signals that cyclists use.

– It is often difficult to judge the correct distance between your spot on the road and a bicycle as it is approaching, particularly when turning left. Before you pass another vehicle, check for oncoming cyclists or bicycles that are ahead of the vehicle you are passing.

– Keep at least three seconds of following distance. Bicycle movements can be unpredictable. Make sure there is enough space if you want to pass a cyclist. Check over your shoulder when making right-hand turns at intersections, and before you open your door when getting out of your vehicle.

– Do not drive, stop or park in a bicycle lane. If you need to cross a bicycle lane to turn or pull to the side of the road, signal well ahead and always yield to cyclists.

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