According to the Canadian Automobile Association, approximately 7500 Canadians are seriously injured yearly in cycling accidents. While this statistic is alarming, it is even more alarming when you consider the fact that many, if not most, of these accidents could have been prevented or mitigated by following some simple safety tips.
At Hoffman Law, we want everyone to stay safe while cycling, whether you ride your bike as a means of transportation to get to work or simply ride for enjoyment. With that in mind, here are a few safety tips.
Follow the Rules of the Road
By law, bicycles are considered vehicles. Riders must follow the rules of the road, and they are subject to the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motorized vehicles.
Always ride your bicycle on the right side of the road and not against traffic.
Plan Your Route
Whenever possible, plan your route ahead of time. Many municipalities have streets with bike lanes and even barriers which can help to make your trip safer. If you can, try to avoid times when you know that traffic is going to be heavier.
Planning your route is especially important if you are travelling with a large group of people. Know ahead of time what you are going to do if part of your group gets separated by traffic.
Wear a Helmet
Although cyclists in Ontario who are over the age of 18 are not legally required to wear a helmet, it is still a good idea. A helmet won’t prevent you from getting into an accident, but it can decrease your risk of severe injury by as much as 85% if you do get into one.
See and Be Seen
Most motorists are watching out for other cars, but they may not necessarily be watching for cyclists. One of the best things that you can do to avoid a cycling accident with a motorized vehicle is to make sure that you are easy to see. You can do this by making sure you have all the required reflectors.
Using hand signals when you turn will also help to make you more noticeable to motorized and will let them know your intentions. This is especially important if you are making a lefthand turn.
And if you are riding at night, make sure you have a headlight and try to dress in light coloured clothing.
Keep Your Bicycle Well Maintained
It will be easier for you to avoid bicycle accidents if your bike is well maintained. Whenever possible, make sure that your bike is stored where it will be protected against inclement weather and the elements. Ensure that chains are clean and oiled, that your tires have the right amount of air pressure and that your brakes are in good condition.
Contact Hoffman Law today
Despite efforts to protect yourself and others while cycling, accidents can still happen, resulting in serious injury. If this happens, you may be entitled to compensation. Call us today to speak to one of our personal injury lawyers. We will answer your questions and investigate your case to see if you have a claim. The consultation is free, and we don’t get paid unless you do.