Ahead of the Victoria Day long weekend and the summer months, cycling is set to once again be a popular activity this year. As Ontarians start to prepare for the upcoming cycling season, CAA South Central Ontario (SCO) is reminding motorists and cyclists to prioritize safety when sharing the road.
“After staying indoors all winter, we expect that more people will choose to get back on their bikes as the weather gets warmer,” says Michael Stewart, community relations specialist for CAA SCO. “With more cyclists re-emerging onto the roads, it is important to be vigilant and mindful of other road users.”
All motorists and cyclists are also advised to follow public health guidelines, communicate their intentions with signals, be patient, regularly check blind spots and turn on their lights during dawn, dusk and dark hours when lighting is most limited.
Another issue that CAA is reminding motorists to watch out for is dooring, which is described as when a cyclist is injured by the opening of a car door. CAA data shows that it continues to be a big safety concern for both cyclists and motorists alike. Last year the Toronto Police Service reported 77 dooring incidents.
Recently the Minister of Transportation introduced the Moving Ontarians More Safely Act that proposes to update the collision reporting process. The proposed legislation would also change the definition of a reportable collision to include bicycles that collide with vehicle doors. A change that CAA supports.
CAA is reminding all motorists of these important rules of the road:
- Pay attention. Avoid distractions like texting, adjusting your GPS or scrolling through your playlist.
- Yield to cyclists. Motorists should not be driving in a bike lane unless making a right turn. Watch for the approaching cyclists and never speed up and cut off a cyclist when making a right turn.
- Keep a safe distance. Drivers must keep at least a one-metre distance when passing a cyclist. If it is not possible, safely change lanes to pass. The penalty for not doing so is a $110 fine.
- Practice the Dutch Reach. Avoid “dooring” cyclists by doing the Dutch Reach. CAA launched a new Dutch Reach video for users to practice as more people are out on their bikes.
Some cycling-specific safety tips:
- Ride with traffic. Riding against traffic flow is dangerous, illegal and a leading cause of car-bike collisions.
- Protect yourself. Cyclists, wear your helmets.
- Be visible. Use reflectors and lights in dark and overcast conditions. It’s the law.
- Be predictable. Obey traffic signs and be clear with your intentions with other drivers. Under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA), a bicycle is considered a vehicle, just like a car or truck and must follow the same rules of the road.
- Ride close to home. As cyclists start to use their bikes for the first time in a while, remember to stay close to home as you are starting out.
“By following these best practices and navigating the road respectfully, we can all do our part in keeping our roads safe for everyone,” says Stewart.
For more information on cycling safety, visit caasco.com/cycling.
SOURCE CAA South Central Ontario
And the most important rule for bikes… ride single file not side by side, not in a large group taking the whole lane. Single file within 3 feet of the edge of the pavement. Then cars and trucks have enough room to pass with out crossing the centre line.