Bike to Work Week in Vancouver has officially begun! So now that you’re suited up in spandex and put the pedal to the metal, we want to make sure you’re taking the right safety precautions. If you think that a helmet and hand signals are all you need to survive the streets on two wheels, think again; according to ICBC, there are approximately 1300 crashes and 1400 injuries each year.
To ensure your commute is a safe one, here are some tips to remember before you hit the road.
- Map out your route. Before you step out that door, map out where the safest routes with assigned bike lanes will be. Use http://www.cyclevancouver.ubc.ca, which will show you how to avoid as much traffic as possible.
- Act like a car. Riding a bike doesn’t give you the freedom to run red lights, not come to a complete stop, or veer between traffic. No matter how many wheels you’re driving, respect the rules of the road.
- Join in and Right On. As a rule, it’s best to ride in the direction of traffic, staying as far to the right as possible. However, sometimes traveling with traffic is necessary because this way you’ll be more visible to drivers, like during a wet rainy night or heavy fog.
- Eye Contact. Make eye contact with drivers and other bikers as much as possible to ensure that they see you. Never just assume that you’re visible.
- Shine on. Stock up on reflectors, blinking lights, bells, and bright clothing. It can be very difficult to see bikers, especially in poor weather conditions. So whenever you hit the pavement, make sure you’re shining brightly.
- Tune-Up. Treat your bike like a car. Make sure the brakes, gears, and other bike parts are tuned-up and ready to go.
Biking is a relatively new mode of transportation for many Vancouverites, so we need to take responsibility and educate ourselves as bikers, drivers, and pedestrians. For more resources, visit https://bikehub.ca//home.
Laura Jane, Event and Sponsorship Manager – Bike to Work Week at HUB gives us this great advice, “Share the Road! I’m also a car share member and drive from time to time to do errands that require a car. Check for cyclists when turning right and before you open your door. And remember, more cyclists on the road means a lot less traffic congestion for you!”