General Safety Tips
These general safety tips should be heeded by all cyclists. Always wear a helmet. Not only is it the law, subject to a fine of $75.00, but studies have demonstrated that it will significantly reduce the chance of serious head injury or death.
If riding at night or dimly lit conditions, make sure to wear the appropriate reflective fabric, and to use bicycle lights. Failure to do so can result in a $30 fine (Highway Traffic Act 62), as well as making it hard for drivers to see you.
Perform and maintain basic bicycle safety checklist. This involves checking and ensuring the bolts and releases on the bike are in proper order, making sure axles and parts are secured, properly inflating tires, centring your bike, and squeezing and testing the brake levers.
Adopt proper signaling and traffic etiquette. Make sure you are well accustomed to signaling and shoulder checking.
More Specific Scenarios
Go straight through the lane and do not ride the curb or sidewalk. Remember that slower traffic stays right and gives way to faster traffic on the left. The recommended distance from curb is 1m.
Right and Left Turns
For right hand turns, it is important to stick to the right most lane. Always shoulder check and watch for incoming vehicles. Properly moderate your speed so you can stop safely. Never pass on the right side.
For right hand turns of an opposing vehicle, take extra caution. In these cases, never pass the vehicle on its rights, but instead pass the right turning vehicle on the left by shoulder checking and making appropriate directional signals.
Left hand turns can be tricky and often require more cycling skill. Stick to the shoulder- check, signal, shoulder- check rule; or alternatively, cross left by walking your bike across the crosswalk. Do not ride your bike in a crosswalk.
Knowing who has right of way and properly obeying stop signs is important. Staying alert in intersections, proceeding slowly, and being mindful of other vehicles are defensive, predictive behaviours that should be followed.
Dooring incidents often occur when motorists improperly stop in a bike lane to drop off passengers. These situations can best be avoided by travelling at appropriate speed in the lane, being aware of other road users, and passing parked or stopped cars on the left side. We hope to have a future article on the prevalence of dooring and door- related injuries.
Be aware of the Ontario’s Guide to Safe Cycling.
We here at Grillo Law Lawyers will help you protect your rights in any Bicycle Accident.