Summer is just around the corner, and warm weather means that Edmonton’s streets will soon see an influx of bicyclists in the many popular areas of the city that make it easy for cyclists to navigate their daily commute. If you’re one of the many Edmontonians that like to spend time riding around the city, it’s important to be aware of the risks that come with sharing the road with vehicles and stay on top of best practices to avoid an accident.
Countless cyclists are injured each year while commuting; thankfully, with the right information on hand and a little pre-planning, you can greatly reduce your risk of becoming one of the cyclists involved in collisions that occur in Alberta each season. Below, we’ll cover some of the top ways you can keep yourself safe while biking around Edmonton. Read on to learn more!
Stay Alert, Visible, and Cautious While Riding
Generally speaking, the number one variable that helps prevent an accident, be it vehicle-on-vehicle, pedestrian-automobile, or cyclist–automobile, is proactivity. When riding your bike, you need to take time to consider the many factors you may encounter while commuting and plan accordingly to reduce your risk. Core fundamentals to exercise while riding include:
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Riding with your earbuds in is a great way to enjoy your commute and vibe to your favourite tunes, but it’s not a great way to assess risk and give yourself enough time to react. It’s important to be extra aware of your surroundings while cycling, especially when surrounded by vehicles that have hundreds of extra pounds of protection surrounding drivers that may or may not be paying attention as well. Avoid any factors (including loud music or texting) that divert your focus and puts you, as well as everyone else on the road, at risk.
Abide by ALL Road Safety Rules and Regulations
If you’re cycling on the road, you are subject to the same rules and regulations as other vehicles around you. It’s crucial that cyclists remember to abide by right away rules, stop at all red lights, yields, and stop signs, and to respect pedestrian rights. Never assume you have the right to proceed because you are on a bike, and be aware that you are less visible than other vehicles, meaning you need to exercise extra caution and ride defensively to ensure your safety.
Whether you’re riding during the day or in the evening, it’s essential to make sure that other cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians can see you. Invest in a high visibility vest, chest light and other markers that will help your fellow commuters see you coming, allowing them to give you room to travel safely. Follow common-sense safety practices like avoiding wearing all dark clothing when riding at night, and if you’re not sure if someone has seen you (always make eye contact with motorists where possible), wait before proceeding.
Ride to Conditions
In order to stay safe, you’ll need to adjust your ride to the many different environmental and climate conditions that Edmonton likes to throw our way throughout the year. If it’s raining heavily or snowing, you’ll want to leave extra time and ride carefully to avoid slips or spills and be aware that other commuters likely have reduced visibility while driving. Should road conditions be particularly adverse, you may want to consider alternative methods of transportation, or even postpone your trip, until it’s safer to commute by bike.
Always Wear Your Gear
Put safety first when riding your bike, especially in heavily populated areas with lots of traffic. Always wear a helmet, and consider adding knee or elbow pads as an extra level of protection. The unfortunate reality of cyclist involved collision is that you face a much greater risk of severe injury when commuting due to how exposed you are on a bike compared to the inside of a car. Giving yourself any extra form of protection can go a long way to preventing serious breaks, sprains, or other traumatic, life-altering injuries in the event of an accident.
What Happens if I’m in an Accident?
Unfortunately, the reality of commuting by bike is that accidents do still happen, even with all of the right precautions in place. If you find yourself facing pain and long-lasting as the result of a cyclist involved collision, James H. Brown and Associates is here to help.
Since 1993, James H. Brown and Associates have helped accident victims and their families with award-winning injury law services. We know that recovering after a traumatic incident like a cycling or vehicle accident can be overwhelming and know firsthand how much of a toll serious injuries can take. We believe that no one should have to face the realities of recovering from an accident alone, and are proud to fight in your corner to ensure you have superior representation and receive fair compensation.
Contact us today to speak with an injury lawyer and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with James H. Brown and Associates.