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Get a Grip on Bike Safety

Safety tips for riding your bike this summer

Warmer weather means more people will be enjoying outdoor activities like biking – even using them as a form of transportation to commute to and from work, home and school. With an increase in cyclists on the road, it’s a good time of year to review bike safety protocol.

Take a ride on the side of caution this summer and check out the safety tips below.

Gearing up
It’s easy as A-B-C. Before you hit the open road, do an ABC Quick Check. This means you check the air in your tires and make sure they are fully inflated. Next, check the brakes by rocking your bike back and forth while both brakes are engaged to see if there are any loose steering components. C is for chain, meaning you need to check if it is well lubricated and running smoothly. Also, make sure the quick release on your wheels and seat are tight. Do a final check by picking your bike up 10 cm off the ground and dropping it – if nothing falls off, you are safe to ride.

Protect your head 
A helmet not only protects you from a serious injury, but it’s also required by law in Manitoba that anyone under the age of 18 wears one on a bicycle. Choose a colourful helmet that is certified by a recognized safety standards organization and make sure it is well ventilated with a chin strap that has a snug fit.

Use the 2V1 rule for an additional safety check: make sure 2 fingers fit between the helmet and your eyebrows. Your helmet straps should form a v under your ears and 1 finger should fit between the strap and your chin.

Be visible 
Brighter is always better – wear bright coloured, high contrast or reflective clothing to stay visible on your bike. It’s especially important at night as well as dawn and dusk when there is reduced visibility. Ensure your bicycle is equipped with reflectors on both the front, back and wheels so motorists can see you from all sides.

Stick to the rules of the road 
Safety is a two-way street between bikers and drivers, since both share the road and the responsibility. For cyclists, it important to use proper hand signals to indicate the direction you are going, travel with traffic in the curb lane, and make sure you are aware of your surroundings. It is also critical that you adhere to the rules of the road, including all traffic signals and lights.

If you are stranded and get a flat tire, a broken chain, or you are just too exhausted to make it to your destination, CAA Manitoba offers Bike Assist. For Bike Assist in Winnipeg, you can call 204-262-6111.

For more information on how to stay safe and enjoy the ride this summer as a cyclist, check out the Manitoba Public Insurance Bike Safety Handbook.