When cycling there are many things to consider to avoid someone colliding into you and to minimize the severity of any injuries. Keep in mind the reminders below before you head out on your next ride.
Parents and guardians, make sure you and your child wear a properly-fitted helmet to help protect against head injuries.
In Ontario, riders under 18 years of age must wear an approved helmet. A parent or guardian must ensure that a child under 16 years of age wears a helmet. Even if a child is riding in a bicycle trailer, the child needs to wear a helmet.
Safety Lights and Reflectors
Safety lights help others see you to reduce the likelihood of a collision.
In Ontario, your bicycle must have safety lights and reflective strips when you ride one-half hour before sunset to one-half hour after sunrise. They are also required when the light conditions do not allow you to clearly see within 150 metres. The front wheel needs to have a white or amber light, and the rear wheel a red light or reflector. Also, white reflective strips need to be placed on the front forks, and red reflective strips on the rear.
Moreover, while riding in poor light conditions or at night, it is prudent to consider what you wear. Instead of wearing dark-coloured clothing, wear light or bright colours or material that is reflective. Reflective material can also form part of your shoes.
In Ontario, all bicycles are required by law to have a bell or horn in good working order. You need to use the bell or horn to alert others of your approach particularly if you don’t think others realize that you are present or given the potential effect of your next action. This includes letting pedestrians and other cyclists know you will be passing them to help avoid a collision.
Whether a cyclist can ride on a sidewalk depends on the region.
For example, you cannot ride a bicycle on a sidewalk in Mississauga unless all wheels are fifty centimetres or less in diameter.
In Toronto, if you’re over the age of 13, you are not allowed to ride a bicycle on a sidewalk, unless it has been designated for bicycles such as a bicycle lane.
As a parent or guardian, remind your young cyclists who ride on sidewalks to be courteous to pedestrians, and to watch out for cars proceeding in and out of driveways.
Given that hedges on corner lots reduce the visibility of potential hazards, slow down when approaching a street corner. This will to allow for a safe stop to reduce the likelihood of a collision with a pedestrian or other young cyclist turning the corner, or with a vehicle on a road.
These are only a few reminders on cycling safety. Be safe to protect yourself and others.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being in an accident and want to know your rights, call Douglas Strelshik. For over 30 years, he has been representing injured parties, including cyclists, in his personal injury practice.