The OPP would like to take the opportunity to share some tips to both drivers and cyclist in hopes to create cohesive and safe roadways.
Both cyclist and drivers must know that the roads are shared and that whether you’re in a car or on a bike you must follow all traffic laws. This means obeying traffic lights, signs and road directions, signalling turns and stops and maintaining equipment standards. A violation of any of these is the same whether in a car or on a bike.
Traffic or Pedestrian: It’s going to be difficult for a cyclist to be respected when they interchange between being a pedestrian and traffic. A cyclist who rides on a sidewalk or behaves like a pedestrian is one thing but when it’s coupled with merging in and out of traffic for convenience is disrespecting to other users, including pedestrians. (Always check local laws to determine who may ride on sidewalks)
OPP encourages every cyclist to wear a bike helmet, whether 18-years-old or not; it’s protects the rider and it conveys a confident, practiced cyclist who respects personal safety and safe traffic habits. Audible and visual signalling; horns, bells, lights and hand-signals allow cyclist to be noticed by traffic. Using your left hand to signal turns and stops ensures that arm is further into the sight of other drivers and keeps your right hand (likely your dominant hand) in control of the bike and the rear brake.
Drivers not giving way: Personal safety is always a concern for cyclist on the road. A two thousand pound car or truck driving by you can be quite unsettling. And while every driver should know a cyclist would not fare well if struck by a car, caution must be given. The one-meter passing rule is minimum distance a vehicle must pass a cyclist, couple that with a cyclists being allowed to ride up to one meter from the curb or right lane edge and traffic should expect to cross into the oncoming lane during a pass. Cyclists, if so inclined, are recommended to only ride two abreast if the road that has two or more lanes travelling in the same direction (directional multi-lane). In single-lane roadways, stacking up in single-file when cars approach is a safe practice. If there is parking on the curb side, the cyclist should maintain their position in the lane as opposed to winding in and out of parked cars.
The OPP asks all of its roadway users to be aware of their surrounding and give themselves time and space. Respecting other road user will go a long way in reducing conflict between cyclists and motorist.
Visit http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/bicycle-safety.shtml for more tips on bicycle safety.