Mandatory bicycle and defensive strategies can make for a better ride
Cycling, inline skating and other wheeled activities are great ways to get active, get around and keep fit. The City of Edmonton is expanding its bike trails, so now is as good a time as any to get out there on your “wheels” and explore our fantastic network of concrete freedom. However, many Edmontonians don’t even know the mandatory rules surrounding bicycles, so here’s a quick recap! With constant horror stories of bicycle vs vehicle in the news every few weeks, including smart risk strategies from Alberta Health Services as part of your wheeled recreation can help prevent injuries.
Be safe out there!
A bicycle is classified as a vehicle which belongs on the road. Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. You must obey the same rules of the road when riding your bike on-street as you do when driving your car.
In off-street situations, such as bike paths, cyclists are sharing space with a variety of other users.
- Ride defensively, anticipate actions of vehicles and stay alert for hazards. A pedestrian or animal could dart in front of you. Shoulder check each time you turn or move out to pass.
- Debris, grates or holes in the road could make you swerve or crash. Wet or cold weather could affect the path, or your ability to ride.
- Is your bike safe? To stay prepared check your bike to make sure it is in proper working order – each time you ride.
Conduct an ABC Quick Check
A = Air – firm tires
B = Brakes – check that they work
C = Chain – tight, well-lubed
Knowing how to ride a bike safely is not common sense. There are three basic rules of the road that all cyclists need to know and follow:
- Stop at all intersections.
- Look left, right and left again before proceeding.
- Ride on the right.
Wear the Gear
Protect your head. Bike helmets protect riders of all ages.
Important helmet tips:
- Always wear a helmet that is right for the activity.
- Make sure it meets current, approved helmet safety standards (e.g., look for a CSA, Snell, or ASTM sticker).
- Make sure it fits – snug, level, stable.
- Replace your helmet every five years or after it has been in a crash.
- You must be seen and heard. Reflective tape, reflectors and lights make you more visible. Bright clothing catches people’s attention in the daytime.
- Since bicycles are quiet, your bike should have a bell or horn.
Keep on your bike and injury free by giving your full attention to cycling with no impairment of any kind. Impairments include alcohol and other drugs, and distractions like cell phones and music.
Useful Web Links
Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research
Alberta Health Services