Summer is peak cycling season in BC. Whether you cycle for recreation, exercise, or to commute to and from work or school, bike safety is essential to avoiding accidents and injuries. Here are our top 10 tips for staying safe when cycling on BC roads.
How To Stay Safe When Cycling On BC Roads
- Keep your bike properly maintained. Ensure your bike is tuned up at the start of the season and keep on top of regular maintenance. Take your bike to a qualified bike mechanic if you are not sure what maintenance is needed or how to do it yourself.
- Perform a safety check before each ride. Before you head out, check your bike over, paying particular attention to the brakes, chain, and tire pressure. A bike that is in good working order will perform better and may help you avoid accidents.
- Plan your route. Think about your route before you go, especially if you are going to a new destination. Plan a route that avoids traffic congestion and use designated bike lanes or bike paths whenever possible.
- Wear a bike helmet. BC requires cyclists to wear an approved safety helmet and doing so can reduce the risk of serious brain injury.
- Ensure you are visible. Wear bright clothing and equip your bike with reflective gear so other road users can see you. If you are cycling at dawn, dusk or at night, BC law requires your bike to be equipped with a front white headlight and a rear red light and reflector. If you fail to follow bike safety laws and are hurt in a car accident, your personal injury claim may be reduced on account of “contributory negligence” (see here for a discussion of the contributory negligence defence from our Vancouver ICBC claims lawyers).
- Stay alert. Keep an eye on your surroundings and watch where you are going. Avoid listening to music or having a conversation on your mobile device while cycling, as you will be less likely to hear approaching vehicles or other sounds of danger when using earbuds or headphones.
- Follow the rules of the road. Cyclists are subject to similar rights and duties as drivers of motor vehicles, and must obey traffic lights, street signs, and heed the right-of-way.
- Know where you can (and can’t) cycle. Unless signs say otherwise, bicycles are allowed on any road within Vancouver, except certain portions of highways. BC’s Motor Vehicle Act prohibits cycling on most sidewalks or through crosswalks. If you are riding an e-bike, be aware of rules as to where their use is not permitted (e.g., some provincial parks).
- Share the road and communicate with other road users. Use hand signals when turning, slowing down, or stopping your bicycle. Remember that common courtesy goes a long way to reducing accidents. Use your bike’s bell to let others know you are there. Make eye contact with other drivers or pedestrians and yield the right of way.
- Watch out for opening car doors. “Doorings” (that is, being hit by an opening door) are particularly common in busy areas like downtown Vancouver. Ride at least one metre from parked vehicles whenever possible and be extra cautious if you notice a driver in a parked vehicle ahead.
Are You An Injured Cyclist? Contact our Vancouver ICBC Claim Lawyers
If you have been injured by a motor vehicle while cycling and believe you have an ICBC claim, Vancouver lawyers at Simpson, Thomas & Associates are here to help. We have extensive experience handling bicycle accident ICBC claims, including claims involving orthopedic injuries, concussions and traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries. You can contact us at (604) 689-8888 to schedule your free consultation with one of our team of ICBC claim lawyers. Vancouver, Surrey/Delta, Burnaby, and Abbotsford office appointments are available, as are virtual appointments (via Zoom). We are here to answer your questions, and we will assist you with your ICBC claim.