Now that most activities in the city have been cancelled, such as soccer and baseball, kids and adults alike have turned to cycling as a way to stay happy, healthy and active. According to Calgary bicycle shop owners, the rules of physical distancing and the increasingly warmer weather have increased the demand for new bicycles and the need to repair older bikes.
Bike shops are currently running out of supply and warehouses have been cleared out as well. Some customers will have to wait until August to get their new bike.
Repair shops are also finding themselves busier than ever. It is recommended that customers call ahead to book an appointment for bike servicing.
Riding a bicycle is the perfect recreational activity that is compatible with physical distancing. The required 2 metres of distance is approximately the distance of a bicycle, as noted by City of Calgary physical distancing guidelines.
RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH CYCLING
Although cycling is a fun activity and promotes a healthy lifestyle, there are some risks associated with it. According to the Canadian Automobile Association and Statistics Canada, approximately 7,500 cyclists are injured every year.
Most collisions with cyclists occur in intersections. The most common circumstances involve a “right hook” and a “left cross” collision. A “right hook” collision occurs when a cyclist gets hit by a car turning right and a “left cross” collision occurs when a motorist makes a left turn across a cyclist’s path.
LAW REGARDING BICYCLES
In Alberta, the law requires that cyclists and their passengers that are under the age of 18 must wear an approved bicycle safety helmet.
Bicycles are also considered vehicles and therefore must follow the rules of the road like drivers of other vehicles. Therefore, cyclists must comply with all traffic control signals and stop signs and must use the proper lane when making left hand turns.
According to the City of Calgary Traffic Bylaw and the Use of Highway and Rules of the Road Regulation, cyclists must not ride on sidewalks and must ride as close as possible to the right curb or the left curb if on a one way street.
According to various regulations in Calgary, bicycles must be equipped with the following equipment:
- Horn or bell;
- A brake;
- A white headlight, red taillight and red rear reflector, if operating at night (1/2 hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise on pathways and 1 hour after sunset to 1 hour before sunrise on roadways); and
- Lights must be on at night or when visibility is less than 150m.
Other vehicles on the roadway should pay attention and give extra consideration to cyclists as they are much smaller and less visible. Drivers should be especially careful when preparing to make a right hand turn. Always check your blind spot to the right before proceeding.
It is also important to look out for cyclists when opening your vehicle door and only do so when it is safe. It is a good idea not to follow too closely behind cyclists as they do not have brake lights to warn others when they are preparing to stop.
When children are riding bicycles be aware that they may not have the knowledge or skills to proceed safely in traffic.
HOW TO PREVENT HEAD INJURIES FOR CHILDREN
For children, head injuries are one of the leading causes of death. Wearing a properly fitted bicycle helmet can cut the risk of serious head injury to children by approximately 80%.
A properly fitted helmet should sit two fingers above your eyebrow, with straps forming a “v” under your ears and one finger space between the strap and the chin. The helmet must be certified, securely attached to a strap and free of damage or modification that would reduce its effectiveness.
Although the law states that those under 18 must wear a helmet, it is strongly advised that helmets be worn by those of all ages to prevent a serious brain injury or damage to the skull.
CYCLING SAFETY TIPS
Cuming & Gillespie LLP encourages everyone to enjoy cycling and to practice safe cycling by following these safety tips:
- Always ride in single file and keep a safe distance from cyclists in front of you to avoid a collision if they stop short.
- Wear a helmet every time you ride to increase your risk of survival if you are in a bike accident.
- Ride slowly and carefully during inclement weather.
- Make yourself visible. Wear bright clothing and clothing with reflective material, add extra lights to your bike and use reflectors.
- Ride with care and remain distraction-free. Do not use mobile devices or headphones while cycling to reduce distractions.
- Communicate while cycling by using hand signals when turning, slowing down or stopping. Use your bell or your voice when necessary.
- Follow the rules of the road by obeying all traffic signals, signs and right-of-way rules.
- Always yield to foot traffic and slow down in pedestrian areas.
- Avoid drinking and cycling, which can affect the ability to operate the bicycle in a safe manner.
If you or a loved one have suffered serious personal injuries as a result of a bicycle accident and believe a third party is responsible, please contact the award winning and experienced lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP online or call 403-571-0555. We will review your case to determine the best approach to take and how we can help you recover compensation for your injuries.