By GILLIAN SLADE on March 14, 2019.
The Canadian Automobile Association says about 200,000 Canadians ride a bicycle to work, and 44 per cent of people say they would cycle more if they felt safer on the roads.
About 7,500 cyclists are seriously injured every year. The majority of bicycle accidents happen at intersections, says CAA’s website. One out of every three cycling deaths happens at night.
With the slightly warmer weather it is a great time to remind people of the rules of the road when it comes to cycling, said Randi Buchner, municipal engineer with municipal works.
Safety is a shared responsibility, is the city’s slogan, and bicycle safety is a focus this month.
“When it comes to riding a bike, whether that be on a roadway or trail or in a bike lane, it is important to ride on the right-hand side of the road and in the same direction as traffic,” said Buchner.
While you are on your bike you are considered a vehicle and must obey the rules of the road that drivers of vehicles are subjected to, said Buchner.
Drivers need to understand they are sharing the road with cyclists and that they are considered the equivalent of a vehicle. They must be given appropriate clearance, said Buchner.
“A cyclist who is riding a bicycle is legally considered to be a vehicle with the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles,” according to the city’s website.
Buchner says cyclists must obey the rules of the road. They can be ticketed and law enforcement also applies to them. If they want to use a crosswalk they need to dismount from their bike in order to be treated as a pedestrian.
A cyclist turning left must use hand signals and move into the left-hand lane before making that turn, says the city’s website.
Practical tips on bicycle safety for children are available online (link below) including how to choose and wear a helmet properly.
The Canada 2016 census indicates Victoria, B.C. holds the record for the most bike commuters of all cities in Canada at 6.6 per cent of the population. Kelowna was next on the list with 2.7 per cent, Ottawa-Gatineau 2.4 per cent, Vancouver 2.3 per cent and Montreal and Saskatoon tied at 2.0 per cent.
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