Nine Safety Tips for New Cyclists
With spring around the corner, people are eager to dust off their bicycles and get on the road again. If you’re a relatively new cyclist or someone who’s not used to cycling regularly, there are some essential steps you need to follow to stay safe. It’s also the case if you’re a regular cyclist who’s unfamiliar with certain rules of the road. Whatever your background, here are the 9 road safety tips all cyclists should follow:
- Avoid busy streets at first and opt instead for residential or side roads or bike paths. Or try roads with dedicated cycling infrastructure, like protected bike lanes.
- Maintain a safe distance between you and other vehicles. When passing parked cars, be alert and keep a one-meter distance if possible.
- Be predictable: ride in a straight line and use hand signals when turning and stopping.
- Follow the rules of the road and come to a complete stop at all red lights and stop signs.
- In Ontario, it is required by law that cyclists under the age of 18 must wear an approved bicycle helmet. For adults over 18, we recommend you still wear a helmet as research shows that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a serious injury by 70 percent.
- Remember to stay visible, especially if you are riding at night. Dress to be seen by wearing bright, fluorescent colours like orange, hot pink, lime green, and neon yellow. Wear reflective clothing if possible and put reflectors on your pedals as another way to catch the eyes of drivers.
- Buy the best lock you can afford. Bike theft is unfortunately fairly common, and while any lock can eventually be beaten, a high-quality one can deter would-be thieves.
- Check your bicycle before you go out for a ride. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Check your reflectors and lights to make sure that they’re working. Inspect your chains and gears for any defects, fractures, or issues.
- Seek out cycling clubs or advocacy organizations in your area. They’ll give you tips on how to stay safe and may even organize group rides, which can help build your confidence.
Do you have any other safety tips for new cyclists? Share them in the comment section below!