As a cyclist it’s important for you to be SEEN, PREDICTABLE, and AWARE. No matter what time of day you are riding, you are at risk of having an accident. However, there are precautions you can take to reduce your chances of getting in an accident and becoming injured.
When riding from dusk onwards it is important to ride with lights and wear reflective gear. Not only is it the law to have lights on your bike, but is also imperative to your safety. Drivers of motorized vehicles have reduced visibility at night which puts you at risk as a cyclist. It’s important for you to do everything you can to make yourself visible.
Even if it’s not dark out, it’s important for you to make your presence known as a cyclist.
Be SEEN, always use lights and reflectors and wear bright and reflective clothing. It’s important for you to be PREDICTABLE and warn other cyclists, cars/trucks, and pedestrians of your actions. Use your arms to signal your actions and obey all traffic signs (stop at red lights and stop signs, travel in the right direction on one way streets). Be AWARE, watch the signals of the vehicles around you, pay close attention, make eye contact with drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists and do not wear headphones or use your cell phone while cycling. By being alert, you significantly reduce your risk of getting into an accident.
Under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act a bicycle is a vehicle. As a cyclist, you must share the road with others (cars, buses, trucks, ect.). It is very important that you ride with traffic (i.e. ride on the right side of the road). It is both illegal and very dangerous for you to cycle against the flow of traffic; the only exception is a marked contraflow bike lane, which are uncommon in Barrie. You must keep a safe distance between cars, pedestrians, and other cyclists to ensure everyone, including you, is able to maneuver themselves safely.
Be aware of when common accidents happen so you can prevent being a part of one. Watch for cars that turn wide at intersections, cars turning left, cars passing you, and people in parked vehicles who could hit you as you open the door. If you are SEEN, PREDICTABLE, AND AWARE you should feel safe while cycling. However, it is still very important that you wear a helmet, no matter your age. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of severe brain injury for cyclists by 85%. In the event of an accident, you want to protect yourself as much as possible.