Whether you’re a cyclist or a driver, we all have a role to play in sharing the road responsibly.
Cyclists, like pedestrians, are vulnerable to significant injuries or death in crashes with cars. While the top contributing factors attributed to crashes with cyclists are driver distraction and failure to yield, there are things that both drivers and cyclists can do to help everyone stay safe.
TIPS FOR CYCLISTS
Start at the top. Wearing an approved bicycle helmet that meets safety standards is the law in B.C. and you could be fined for not wearing one. Focus on how it fits: it should be snug, but not uncomfortable, and should not be able to roll off of your head when the chin strap is secured.
Follow the rules of the road. Make sure you obey all traffic signs and signals and rules of the road.
Bike lanes are best. Use designated bike routes whenever possible – they’re safer and reduce conflicts with vehicle traffic. Check your local municipality’s website for designated bike routes or go to TransLink for Metro Vancouver cycling maps.
Shoulder check. In advance, shoulder check and hand signal before taking any turns. Remember, drivers sometimes fail to yield right-of-way.
Reflect on safety. Be extra visible with reflective gear on your bicycle pedals and wheels.
Use caution around parked vehicles. Be aware of people in vehicles as well as taxis to avoid getting hit by an opening door. It’s best to keep at least one metre away from parked vehicles.
Protect Yourself Before Cycling
Always wear an approved bicycle helmet that meets safety standards (CSA, ANSI, ASTM or SNELL B-95) and occasionally check for signs of wear. Wearing a helmet is the law in B.C. and you could be fined for not wearing one.
Remember to plan for poor weather or low light conditions. Your bicycle must be equipped with a front white headlight and a rear red light/reflector. Be extra visible with reflective gear on your pedals and wheels.
Be aware of road markings and what they mean in the area that you’re cycling in. There are many different types of bicycle infrastructure, know your shoulders from your sharrows and learn the local bike signage for your municipality.
Need a refresher when it comes to road rules and safety? Register for our FREE StreetWise Online course. These free, interactive, online learning courses will help you become a safer and more confident cyclist. StreetWise Cycling Online (ages 13+) and Learn2Ride Online (youth age 9-12) are designed for beginner to intermediate riders. Click HERE for more info.
If you’d like more information about safe cycling, you can also visit the online Bike Sense Manual.
TIPS FOR DRIVERS
Sharing the road with cyclists
On average, nearly four out of five crashes involving cyclists occur at intersections in B.C. When driving, you can help reduce the chances of a crash by sharing the road safely and following these tips:
- Don’t get distracted. Watch for cyclists on the road and make eye contact if you can, so they can anticipate your next move.
- Yield the right-of-way. Yield to cyclists and signal well in advance if you need to cross a designated bike lane or pull over to the side of the road.
- Look out. Shoulder check for cyclists before turning right and watch for oncoming cyclists before turning left. Scan for cyclists before you enter the roadway from an alley or get in and out of a parking spot.
- Keep a safe distance. Maintain at least three seconds behind cyclists and at least one metre when passing a cyclist. Don’t risk side-swiping or running a cyclist off the road.
- Dooring is dangerous. To avoid dooring (video, 30secs) a cyclist, both drivers and passengers must shoulder check before opening doors. This will also help you avoid a violation and fine.