Tips for Safe Cycling

by Sooke News Mirror

Tips for safe cycling

I’d like to provide some tips regarding safe bicycling I’ve picked up over my 30 plus years of cycling and cycle commuting, (which is how I get to work and back every day!)

1. Wear a helmet! For Pete’s sake, head injuries are the most common, the most debilitating and the most easily prevented injuries when it comes to urban bicycling. Wearing a helmet does not make you look like a dork, is unnoticeable to the wearer, doesn’t cost much money, and can literally safe your life.

2. Be obvious! If people can see you, they most likely will not interrupt your flow and ruin your day.

Reflectors and lighting on your bike makes a big difference to motorists, especially when there is less light.

Bright colors are also a great idea.

Number One reason motorists explain why they ran a cyclist over? “I didn’t see him/her.”

3. Ride defensively! This is less easy to explain, but should be taught to kids from the day they start riding a bike.

Riding defensively means anticipating people you share the road with are going to react badly to your being there, or not notice you are there.

Things like making eye contact, signalling your intentions, lane position and keeping a finger on the brake lever is part of this.

Relearn the Rules of the Road as a bicyclist.

4. Rely on your bike! Obviously, a bike which is mechanically unsound could create a dangerous situation for the rider. Learn how to operate the ‘quick release’ that holds your wheels on, don’t ride without functional brakes, and just make sure your bike isn’t about to shake apart.

5. Use bicycle friendly routes!

While bicyclists are entitled to use most any public road way the same as motorists, sometimes it’s more pleasurable and safer to find secondary roads, greenways and paths to get from point A to point B. It may take a little longer, but it’s usually more fun, less stressful and keeps vehicular exhaust out of your lungs.

Additionally, there is usually less broken glass, nails and crap like that on these routes.

Now, when it comes to the future of our district, many people see the potential for green routes, which pedestrians and bicyclists can use to stay away from the growing number of motorists and large trucks clogging up our major roadways.

As a citizen of the district, you should take an interest in this future, and do what you can to contribute your visions, opinions and experiences to it. 

The world as we know it is changing rapidly, and the sooner we can take steps to prepare for and react to these changes, the better off we will be. 

 Thinking globally and acting locally should define our approach to recreating Sooke for the benefit of coming generations. 

If you have suggestions for the district of Sooke on how it can better integrate bicycling into its transportation infrastructure, write a letter or make a phone call.  You might be surprised by how easy it is to make a difference.

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