Blue skies, shining sun, high temperatures, and a warm breeze against your face. During the summer, everything feels like an invitation to hop on a bicycle. Undoubtedly, it’s the perfect season to get around, savouring Ontario’s roads, trails, and parks while pedalling on a two-wheeler.
However, among all this enjoyment, there are certain risks that everyone should be mindful of. While commuting or having fun in the summer is essential, taking measures to prioritize bicycle safety is equally important.
Right now, we are witnessing a significant increase in people of all ages riding their bikes around Ottawa and the surrounding vicinity. This influx of cyclists includes those who might not be accustomed to sharing the roads with cars, using proper safety gear, or having a solid understanding of bicycle transit laws.
On the flip side, other road users, such as drivers, motorcyclists, and pedestrians, may not be entirely prepared to coexist harmoniously with cyclists. This situation becomes painfully evident when we look at the numbers. According to a CBC news article from August 2022, cycling deaths investigated by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have increased by a huge 300% since August 2021 .
So, let’s kickstart the conversation and delve into how we can make Ontario safer for all cyclists when enjoying their late summer rides.
Bicycle Safety Means Gearing Up Correctly
We shall start by keeping things as straightforward as possible. It’s not about fashion accessories designed to create a stylish appearance. Instead, it’s about ensuring your safety while you’re out cycling. Every cyclist must wear a bike helmet that fits properly and is certified by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
Additionally, cyclists should don bright, reflective clothing to enhance their visibility to other road users. Another thing that can significantly contribute to security is installing lights on both the bicycle and the helmet. All these efforts together can make a difference in preserving cyclists’ integrity.
Sharing Is Caring
The roads are made for all – period. It’s essential to follow the rules of the road and be aware of cyclists at all times. Motorists should give cyclists enough space and always look out for them when turning or merging. Drivers should also be aware that cyclists may need extra time and space to make lane changes or turns.
However, it’s vital for cyclists to ride with traffic flow while always using hand signals when turning or stopping. In addition, it is necessary to be conscious of what is happening around you. In other words, keeping an eye out for other vehicles and pedestrians. And last but not least, you should practice defensive cycling. When possible, maintain a safe distance from other cars and make sure to stay in control. Staying alert will help you dodge debris, potholes, and other potential hazards on the road. Remember that listening to music or using an earpiece may distract you from spotting factors just like these.
Ontario’s Bicycle Laws: An Overview
Ontario’s bicycle laws were created to encourage safe riding and ensure safety for all road users. If you’re on a bike, you’ve got to follow the same rules as cars. This includes stopping at stop signs, yielding where necessary, and obeying traffic lights. Cyclists should ride in the direction of traffic on the right side of the road unless overtaking another cyclist or passing a stationary vehicle. Moreover, cyclists must indicate their intentions to turn or stop and use appropriate headlights and reflectors while cycling during nighttime.
For all cyclists under 18, wearing an approved bike helmet is a must – otherwise, failure to do so may result in a $90 fine. Even though there’s no law for adults, lots of cities have their own helmet rules. Ultimately, it’s always wise to wear one, no matter your age.
Provincial laws also restrict cyclists from using certain devices, such as cell phones, radios, and MP3 players. Cyclists are prohibited from listening to music, talking on the phone, or texting while cycling in Ontario. Furthermore, the use of handheld devices while cycling is strictly forbidden. Within urban areas, cycling is governed by various local by-laws. In some municipalities, cyclists are required to utilize designated bike lanes when available.
Additionally, cyclists should observe bike paths and trail speed limits and remain attentive to signs indicating pedestrians or other cyclists. By paying attention to these regulations and exercising common sense, cyclists can ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.
The Benefits of Regular Bike Maintenance
Regular bike maintenance is the key to keeping your bicycle in proper working condition. This will reduce the chances of damage or wear ruining your cycling experience. Here are some simple steps you can follow to maintain your bicycle.
1. Checking Brakes
Brakes are one of the most important features of your bike. Regular adjustments are essential for keeping your bike safe. Inspect the brake pads for wear and replace them if necessary. Also, check the brake arms for any excessive play, and adjust accordingly.
2. Adjusting The Derailleur
The derailleur allows you to shift between gears while cycling. Over time, the derailleur can become worn or misaligned, so it is important to check it regularly. Inspect the cable for any signs of fraying or stretching, and make sure it is properly adjusted.
3. Checking Cables
Check the cables for any signs of fraying or stretching. If the cables are in good condition, lubricate them with a bike-safe lubricant. This will help keep them from sticking and will make shifting easier.
4. Lubing the Chain
Use a bike-safe lubricant to coat the chain. Apply lubricant to the link pins and wipe off any excess. This will keep the chain running smoothly while reducing wear and tear.
Regular bike maintenance can help keep your bike in safe working condition and ensure you get the most from your cycling experience.
Sometimes, Bicycle Safety Isn’t Enough. When Negligence Causes Serious Injury, Call MG Law.
Sometimes, despite taking all the bicycle safety precautions possible, you or someone you love may experience a serious accident. We sincerely hope that it never occurs. However, if it does happen, and negligence is at play, MG Law can assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve. Rest assured, our highly experienced lawyers will stand by your side throughout your entire legal journey. Call (613) 730-8460 to schedule a free consultation with our team. At MG Law, your fight is ours too.