During the pandemic in Canada, more people got injured while cycling and had to go to the hospital. According to the CIHI, from April 1 2020-March 31, 2021, more people ended up in the hospital due to cycling accidents. The number of hospitalizations for cycling injuries increased by over 1,000.
In Edmonton, where people sought outdoor adventures on their bikes during COVID, cycling injuries increased by 25 percent. This means more individuals got hurt while riding their bikes and had to spend time in the hospital.
In Alberta, the situation was even more serious. Hospitalizations for cycling injuries increased by 37 percent. This means that more people in Alberta were getting hurt while cycling, and out of all the hospitalizations in Canada, about 15 percent were due to cycling accidents.
These unfortunate incidents could have been prevented with proper safety measures. This blog will share some urgent safety tips for new bikers to help you stay safe.
Invest in Quality Safety Gear
The first and most important step to ensure your safety as a new biker is investing in high-quality safety gear. This gear includes a well-fitted helmet, reflective clothing, gloves, and sturdy footwear. A helmet, in particular, is non-negotiable. It can greatly lessen the risk of head injuries in a fall or collision.
When choosing a helmet, ensure it meets safety standards and fits snugly on your head. Remember that helmets have a limited lifespan and should be replaced if they’ve been involved in a crash or have visible damage.
Know Your Bike
Understanding your bicycle is fundamental to your safety. Take the time to learn about its different parts, how they work, and how to perform basic maintenance. Regularly check your brakes, tire pressure, and gears. Check if your bike is properly fitted to your size and that the saddle height is adjusted to allow for efficient pedaling without straining your knees.
Follow Traffic Rules
Bicycles are considered vehicles in many places, so you must follow the same Edmonton bike laws as cars and motorcycles. This includes stopping biking at red lights and stop signs, yielding the right of way when necessary, and using hand signals to indicate turns. Be predictable in your movements to help drivers anticipate your actions.
One of the most common causes of accidents involving cyclists is a lack of visibility. Ensure you are easily seen by other road users, especially in low-light conditions. Below are some tips:
Attach a white front light and a red rear light to your bike, both of which should be visible from a distance. Many jurisdictions require lights when cycling at night.
Wear Reflective Clothing
Opt for clothing with reflective strips, especially if you ride at dawn, dusk, or in the dark. Reflective vests and ankle bands can also enhance your visibility.
Choose Bright Colours
When selecting your cycling attire, go for bright and vibrant colors. They’re more visible than dark colours, especially in low-light situations.
Stay Out of Blind Spots
Be mindful of vehicles’ blind spots, particularly large trucks and buses. Make eye contact with other car drivers to ensure they’ve seen you.
Practice Defensive Riding
Defensive riding means always being aware of your surroundings and anticipating potential hazards. The following are some defensive riding tips:
Keep your eyes on the road, scan for potential dangers, and avoid distractions like headphones or texting.
Maintain a Safe Distance
Leave ample space between you and vehicles, especially when riding alongside parked cars. This gives you room to react if a car door suddenly opens or a vehicle pulls out.
Watch for Turning Vehicles
Be especially cautious when approaching intersections and driveways. Drivers will not always notice you, so don’t assume they will yield the right of way.
Avoid Riding on Sidewalks
In most places, riding on sidewalks is against the law. If you must use a sidewalk, dismount and walk your bike.
Plan Your Route
Before heading out on your bike, plan your route carefully. Try to stick to roads with designated bike lanes or bike paths whenever possible. Apps and websites like Google Maps often have cycling-specific directions to help you find the safest routes.
Avoid busy streets with heavy traffic if you’re uncomfortable riding in those conditions. Familiarize yourself with the local cycling infrastructure and take advantage of bike-friendly routes.
Be Prepared for Weather Conditions
Weather can significantly impact your biking experience and safety. These are the tips for riding in various weather conditions.
When cycling in the rain, slow down and leave extra braking distance. Wet roads can be slippery. Wear waterproof clothing and ensure your bike’s lights are especially visible.
Strong winds can make cycling more challenging. Be prepared for gusts that could affect your balance. Hold the handlebars firmly and adjust your speed as needed.
In hot weather, stay hydrated and wear sunscreen. Wear eye protectives to protect your eyes from glare, and use a helmet with adequate ventilation.
Learn Basic Bike Handling Skills
Good bike handling skills can help you avoid accidents and navigate tricky situations.
Learn to use your brakes effectively to slow down and stop smoothly without skidding.
Practice making sharp and controlled turns. Start with wide turns and gradually decrease your turning radius.
Develop your balance by riding slowly and maintaining a straight line without swerving.
Watch Out for Road Hazards
Be vigilant for road hazards that could cause accidents. These can include potholes, debris, gravel, and uneven surfaces. Slow down and navigate these obstacles carefully to avoid losing control of your bike.
Educate Yourself About Local Laws
Laws regarding cycling vary from place to place. Familiarize yourself with Edmonton bike laws, including helmet laws, bike lane usage, and any specific rules for cyclists. Ignorance of the law is not a valid excuse if you are in a legal situation after an accident.
Consult With a Bicycle Accident Attorney Now
Following these urgent safety tips for new bikers can minimize accidents and injuries while enjoying the many benefits of cycling. Remember that safety should always be your top priority, and don’t hesitate to seek legal advice if you ever find yourself in a bicycle-related legal issue.
Sidhu Personal Injury Lawyers Edmonton is just a call away to offer you personal injury services. Our bicycle accidents lawyer help you fight for your rights and get your deserved compensation. Stay safe and enjoy cycling.