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Bicycle Safety Tips and Recommendations

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MG Law’s Bicycle Safety Division

For Drivers

Stay vigilant when driving and actively scan the road for cyclists. Make eye contact with cyclists to let them know they’ve seen you.  

Signal early and often to ensure cyclists know your next intention when driving. 

Use the “Dutch Reach” when opening driver doors. By using your right hand instead of your left, it forces you to swivel your body and observe the road around you. This way, you’ll spot cyclists and avoid nasty dooring accidents. 

Avoid tailgating and always maintain a safe distance of around three seconds between your car and a bicycle. Whether they’re passing on the right or in front of you. 

Avoid “distracted driving”. As of January 1, 2019, Ontario introduced harsher punishments for those using cell phones and unrelated display screens while driving. 

Stay calm. Riding the horn could startle a cyclist causing them to fall so only use it when absolutely necessary. Restlessness only increases the potential for accidents taking place. 

Avoid right hooks. Check your blind spot before every right turn to ensure you don’t cut off any cyclists. Similarly, watch for oncoming cyclists before turning left. 

For Cyclists

Wear a helmet! According to Consumer Reports, 78% of adults and 88% of children who suffered head and neck injuries when cycling were not wearing a helmet. 

Always check your blind spot and signal your intent before making any turn. 

Make sure you’re visible. Avoid dark clothes. Instead, wear bright colours or reflective materials both day and night. 

Stay vigilant when passing parked cars and moving cars that may be about to change direction. 

Perform a complete stop at red lights, stop signs and pedestrian crosswalks. 

Avoid using headphones when riding to stay alert to traffic noise around you. 

Get your bike serviced regularly to avoid any risk of mechanical failures when riding. 

Avoid swerving in and out of lanes, and respect the cars and pedestrians around you. 

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Remember, MG Law is on cyclists’ side. If you’re the unfortunate victim of a bicycle accident and need to take the next step, our Ottawa lawyers can help.