Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cycle Safe!

Amongst the many things that spring brings in Canada, cycling on the roads is one of the most popular. And with the outrageous prices of gasoline, more and more people are taking to two wheels to go to the store, to work, to their friends, and to the park. However, it’s no secret that there is significant risk to a cyclist on the roads today. No one is paying attention the way they used to and that includes both drivers and cyclists. Drivers are distracted like never before, and cyclists will always take the brunt of that collision. In the same vein, drivers aren’t mind readers, and long gone are the days when the cyclist actually uses those arm signals, once even taught in school, to advise nearby cars of their intent to turn.

A lot of cities in Canada are set up with dedicated bike lanes right in the downtown cores, as well as for commuters. Cities like Victoria, British Columbia have the dedicated and scenic “Galloping Goose Trail” that many a cycling commuter can use year round to get downtown. In Toronto, a city filled with people, cars, bikes, and pedestrians, the bikes lanes currently in place seem to be merely a suggestion.

Education, respect and cooperation are going to go along way with those who need to share the road. Groups trying to get the reminder messages out include the Ottawa-based Citizens for Safe Cycling (CfSC) group which promotes safe and efficient cycling in Ottawa by advocating:
  • Acceptance of the responsible cyclist as a legitimate road-user
  • Education of all cyclists to improve their riding and traffic skills and also of other road-users to help them accommodate cyclist traffic as part of their normal driving skills
  • Improved engineering to facilitate cyclist traffic such as proper traffic control systems, adequate lane widths and sufficient, secure parking
  • Legislation that is effective and properly enforced
  • Representation of cycling issues to all levels of government
The Canadian Cycling Association, the national governing body for competitive cycling in Canada, even has a voice when it comes to the education of recreational cycling and they have developed the CAN-BIKE cycling safety program which provides a nationally standardized set of courses that can be taught through a variety of organizations who are interested in education, safety and health, for the 14 million cyclists in the country.

For more information on cycling safety tips, please contact SIRC!

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