Bicycle Safety Tips

Riding a bicycle is a lot of fun, but it’s important to be safe at all times when bicycling, especially around roadways. Because cars have many more safety features than bicycles, a cyclist is more likely to sustain an injury in the unfortunate event of a traffic accident.

Unlike driving a car, a bicycle doesn’t require registration or a driver’s license, which means it’s up to each individual cyclist to pursue safe bicycling practices. For ways to improve your safety when biking, consider our four bicycle safety tips:

Office worker riding bicycle

1. Wear a helmet

Although it might seem like obvious safety equipment, wearing a helmet is actually not required in certain Provinces for those over the age of 18, such as Ontario. It is required for all riders in Nova Scotia however, and is heavily recommended. According to the Nova Scotia Government website “research indicates that using helmets for cycling, skateboarding and in-line skating can reduce the chance of brain injury by up to 85 percent.”.

When buying a helmet, check to see if the helmet design is certified by the CPSCCSA or Snell.

2. Ride with a light

When biking at night, make sure cars are able to see you. In addition to wearing a reflective vest, lights on the front and back of your bike can make all the difference, and are mandatory in Nova Scotia. A flashing red light affixed to the back of your bicycle, as opposed to a standalone reflector, will greatly increase your visibility, and, by extension, your safety.

3. Use a mirror

Having mirrors attached to your bike is optional, but is a great safety feature. Even one mirror, stationed on the left side of your bike, will give you advanced warning when a car is approaching, lending you more time to safely move aside and keeping you aware of your surroundings at all times.

4. Plan your route

Though as cyclists you have as much a right to the road as drivers, you’re also afforded the unique privilege of plotting new, exciting, road-free routes to your destination. Areas with high traffic levels can be easily avoided with some planning, and steep hills are catalogued in such a way that they’re avoidable as well!

If you become fatigued on a bike, pull over and take a break. Don’t try to push through fatigue unless you’re a seasoned biker or you’re riding in a low traffic area. For an overtired operator, cycling can be just as dangerous as driving - your reaction time is significantly reduced, and your situational awareness is rarely at its best.

For more bicycle safety tips, be sure to check out Nova Scotia’s Bicycle Safety booklet on their website. In addition to bicycle safety techniques, they offer helpful crosswalk safety tips as well.

If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle or cycling accident, don’t hesitate to contact us here or call 1-888-434-0398.