People of all ages are cycling on our roads to go to work, to get to school, to shop, to run errands and to get to festivals and fun activities. People are biking in the rain, and more are biking in the winter.
Biking is a healthy and fun physical activity. You’ll meet many people on bikes if you use our wonderful walking and cycling trails.
With more people using bikes, it’s now more important than ever to share the road safely and responsibly.
The City of Greater Sudbury has allocated $800,000 a year towards building safer cycling infrastructure. But those bike paths, bike lanes, and cycle tracks won’t appear overnight.
As motorists, we have a shared responsibility to keep cyclists and pedestrians safe. Always be on the lookout for bikes on the road - they are legally allowed to be there.
Don’t open your car door without looking for someone on a bike. People on bikes are allowed to ride in the centre of a lane if the lane is too narrow for a car to safely pass them in that lane, or if they are avoiding potholes, grates, or other debris in their riding path. So be courteous, and pass them safely.
On June 2, 2015, Ontario passed the Making Ontario's Roads Safer Act, making changes to the Highway Traffic Act. It includes increasing fines and demerit points for drivers who “door” cyclists, and a requirement for all drivers to maintain a minimum distance of one metre when passing cyclists.
If you’re riding a bike on the road, there are a number of things you can do to stay safe.
The city will be offering bike courses in June, and along with on-road skills practice, you’ll also learn defensive cycling techniques. Here’s a sneak peak at some of the things you’ll learn.
Always be aware of your surroundings. Watch for pedestrians and automobiles. Check back across your left shoulder on a regular basis to be aware of what’s behind you. Be on the lookout for right and left turning cars. Don’t pass on the right, and don’t move up beside cars on the right.
Most car/bike collisions occur at intersections, so be careful at road, laneway and driveway intersections. Be especially careful around trucks and other large vehicles – stay out of their blind spots.
Wear bright clothes so you are visible, and use a light at night. Stay in the motorist’s field of vision and make eye contact to communicate your intentions. Obey all rules of the road and signal your stops and turns. Wear a helmet.
Always ride on the right side of the road and ride in a straight line. Don’t weave in and out of traffic. Ride one meter from the curb or from the shoulder, and from parked cars. When making turns, signal your intentions and use turning lanes as if you were a car.
At the end of the day, let’s make sure that everyone arrives home safely.
ReThinking Green is produced by ReThink Green, a local non-profit organization promoting environmental action, policies and networking in the Greater Sudbury area.