ICBC's top safety tips for cyclists and other road users ahead of BC's Bike to Work Week, May 11-17

    VANCOUVER, May 6 /CNW/ - As the warmer weather approaches, May is
traditionally the start of cycling season around the province. This means more
bicycles will be on the road and the need for cyclists - and other road users
- to take extra caution.
    May 11-17 also marks the annual Bike to Work Week in British Columbia,
and this year's event comes at a time when more and more people are turning to
their bikes as they begin to shift to more environmentally-conscious forms of
    There are approximately 1,300 crashes and 1,400 injuries involving
cyclists each year in BC - a number that has stayed consistent but it is still
too high. We can all do our part to help make these numbers even lower - the
following are ICBC's top five road safety tips for cyclists and top five tips
for other roads users to consider:


    No. 1 - Brighten up: Bicycles can be hard for other road users to spot in
the mix of busy traffic so cyclists need to be as visible as possible. Bright,
reflective clothing is the best option for the rider, while the bicycle itself
needs to have lights. If you ride at night, your bicycle must be equipped with
a white headlight visible at 150 metres, and have a rear red light and a red
rear reflector. Even if you are doing all of these things, never assume you
have been seen by another vehicle.

    No. 2 - Don't rush: Remember to stop and look in all directions before
cycling out of an intersection, driveway or lane. The majority of all
children's cycling crashes are caused by the child riding out onto a roadway
without looking. Cyclists need to ensure they follow the rules of the road.
Just like any other vehicle, you need to obey stop signs and other traffic
control devices and enforcement.

    No. 3 - Start at the top: While we're talking rules, remember to always
wear an approved bicycle helmet that meets safety standards - it's the law in
BC and you could be fined for not wearing one. Bike helmets alone could
prevent up to 85 percent of serious injuries, which account for 80 percent of
all bicycle-related deaths. Look for a helmet that is approved by a recognized
body such as Snell. More important than who made the helmet is how it fits. It
should be snug, but not uncomfortable, and should not be able to roll off of
your head when the chin strap is secured.

    No. 4 - Get well positioned: Position yourself so other road users can
easily see you - don't weave in and out of traffic. Importantly, ensure you
always avoid riding in blind spots of other road users. Cyclists should ride
on the right side of the road and in single file.

    No. 5 - Be defensive: While it is fine to ride in an assertive manner,
cyclists need to think and look well ahead - remember, a conflict between a
bicycle and a motor vehicle usually results in injury to the cyclist. Pay
particular attention for vehicles turning at intersections, and slow down and
take it easy on the curves.


    No. 1 - Keep your eyes peeled: As a road user, it is important that you
always actively look for cyclists in traffic - especially in the spring and
summer months when there are more of them on the road. Wherever possible, make
eye contact with the cyclist to let them know you have seen him - a cyclist
often relies on eye contact as a means of communication as they try to
anticipate your next move. Make sure you understand all of the hand signals
that cyclists use. Shoulder checking is also important, especially when making
right-hand turns at intersections and before you open your door to get out of
your vehicle.

    No. 2 - Put things in perspective: It is often difficult to judge the
correct distance between your spot on the road and a bicycle as it is
approaching, particularly when turning left. Be extra cautious for cyclists,
especially when turning at intersections. Before you pass another vehicle,
make sure you check for oncoming cyclists and bicycles ahead of the vehicle
you are passing.

    No. 3 - Don't get close: Drivers need to pay attention and yield to
people on bikes and, importantly, need to keep at least three seconds of
following distance. Bicycle movements can be unpredictable so an increased
distance will give you more time to safely react. A significant number of
crashes involving cyclists result from side-sweeping, so make sure there is
enough space if you want to pass a cyclist.

    No. 4 - Keep out: Bicycle lanes are reserved for cyclists - do not drive,
stop or park in a bicycle lane. Sometimes you will need to cross a bicycle
lane to turn right, or to pull to the side of the road. When you need to do
so, take extra care - be sure to signal well ahead and remember to always
yield to cyclists.

    No. 5 - Be considerate: Like pedestrians, cyclists are vulnerable road
users and don't have the protection drivers have - both in terms of the shell
of their vehicle and their seatbelt. Don't honk your horn at a cyclist unless
you need to give them a warning. A loud honk could startle them or even cause
them to fall.

For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Adam Grossman, (604) 982-1332

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