July 09, 2016, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
Sharing is Caring when Driving or Biking
Tips on how to keep safe out on the busy KW streets in a car or on a bike!
The people of the Tri-Cities are always on the move, and with the construction going on throughout the region, has resulted in a large number of commuters switching from their vehicles to their bikes for travel. With a focus on keeping bikers and drivers safe while they share roads this summer, the Region of Waterloo, the Bike Waterloo Region campaign (Thumbs Up, WR), and the CAA have provided cyclists and motorists with important tips on how to stay safe out there. While both types of commuters will have to obey road signs while following the flow of traffic, and scan the roads for each other, here are some more safety pointers specifically for each kind of ride.
Although vehicles can go up to speeds of 100 km/h, cyclists have an a lot faster reaction, especially when it comes to stopping. The CAA recommends that drivers give bikers a three to four second following distance to avoid following too close behind cyclists. This is also important to do in unstable weather conditions like rain, as cyclists can be more impaired on wet roads than drivers. As well, drivers should also check their mirrors every five to eight seconds, and scan one block ahead of them for bikes. If a driver is going to turn or make a lane change, they should do so after having checked for cyclists and signaling in advance. Drivers should also leave one meter of room when they are passing cyclists during a lane change. While common vehicle and bicycle collisions are right/left turns, and passing bikers on roads, another common collision is bikers crashing into car doors when drivers are trying to exit their vehicles. This is why drivers should use extra caution when in parking lot, playground, or school areas—in motion or not.
For bikers, the more that one cycles regularly within their community, the less crashes happen over time. So be predictable when biking by using hand signals when turning, ride with traffic, and obey all road signs. Bikers should also stay visible with lights, reflectors, and reflective clothing. As a biker, one should always have room to maneuver. In urban settings, where space can be tight, riders should consider riding in single file, and in rural areas cyclists need to stick to the right side of the trail. City bike lanes are similar to driving lanes where they can only be used to ride in one direction. Sixty per cent of bikers who have ridden the wrong way on bike lanes have gotten into an accident. While adults bikers can ride on roads, it is recommended that children consider riding on the sidewalk. It is important though that bicyclists riding on a sidewalk stop and walk through intersections when safe to do so. Ontario laws state that all children should be wearing a helmet. A helmet that properly fits a child’s head should leave two fingers of space above their eyebrow, and a finger being able to fit under the chin strap. Proper maintenance also plays an important part in bike safety. Be sure to check the ABC’s (Air pressure, Brakes, Handlebars & Barbell, and Chain & Crank the foot peddles) before using your bike.
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Complied by Ariel Deutschmann
About Deutschmann Law
Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.
The opinions expressed here, while intended to provide useful information, should not be interpreted as legal recommendations or advice.