Celebrate Ontario Bike Month This June


Ontario Bike Month begins June 1, and residents are invited to join the month-long festivities by replacing car trips with bike rides, brushing up on bicycle safety skills, and taking part in locally planned Bike Month events and celebrations hosted throughout Simcoe and Muskoka.

Cycling is a lower impact form of physical activity for people of all ages. It is an aerobic exercise that helps strengthen the heart, blood vessels and lungs and produces less stress on knee and ankle joints than high impact activities like running. Whether it is a slower paced ride around the neighborhood, or a vigorous workout that gets the heart pumping, cycling is an excellent health and fitness activity.

“June brings the milder weather we have all been waiting for and Bike Month provides the perfect opportunity to incorporate cycling with commuting to work, running errands or for recreation with family and friends,” says Christine Bushey, manager of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s (SMDHU) chronic disease prevention program. “Cycling is one of the most efficient ways to combine regular exercise with your everyday routine.”

Beyond the benefits of physical activity, cycling allows people to spend time outdoors exploring the natural beauty of Simcoe and Muskoka, which can improve people’s health and mental well-being. Research shows there is a positive relationship between time spent in green spaces such as parks, trails and gardens and one’s overall well-being.

Students and families are also encouraged to try cycling to school during Bike Month. Along with the physical and mental health benefits for students, reducing the number of cars in school zones can improve air quality and contribute to a calmer and safer traffic environment. Visit smdhu.org/OnTheMove to learn more about all of the important benefits of active school travel.

Cycling can be enjoyed safely when people understand the rules of the road and practice proper safety precautions. Cyclists must obey traffic signs and signals and follow the rules of the road like other vehicles. If you are taking your bike off road, be courteous to other trail users and obey all shared trail etiquette (heels before wheels). Cyclists who are under the age of 18 must wear an approved helmet; however, it is recommended that everyone wear a helmet when riding their bike. Visit smdhu.org for more safe riding tips.

With the increase in cycling activity this month, drivers are cautioned to watch for cyclists, slow down, and leave plenty of space to ensure everyone has a safe strip. When passing a cyclist, drivers are required by the Highway Traffic Act to maintain a minimum distance of one metre between their vehicle and the cyclist. Visit sharetheroad.ca  for more information on how drivers can co-exist safely with cyclists.

Throughout June, businesses and organizations often host community events to encourage individuals and families to cycle and to build public interest and support for cycling. Residents are encouraged to check out local community news sources and websites for details to see what is happening in their communities across Simcoe and Muskoka in celebration of Bike Month.

To learn more Bike Month visit SMDHU.org or call Health Connection weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520.


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