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June 24, 2012
Here’s a checklist of things to remember when rolling on two wheels.
To get THE GOODS for Street Smart
Think you can just hop on a Bixi and pop wheelies into the sunset? Not so fast, Evel Knievel. With the surging popularity of two-wheel travel, the city streets are a jungle of cyclists, cars, strollers, skateboarders, squirrels and pedestrians. Navigate your way through by refreshing your knowledge of bike safety. As a cyclist, you are subject to the same
Highway Traffic Act
rules that motorists are – and therefore the same fines – but you won’t have the protection of seat belts and windshields. Here’s a checklist of things to remember when rolling on two wheels...
are mandatory for children, but everyone would be wise to wear one. And no, your hockey helmet won’t suffice – you need one designed and approved specifically for cycling by the trustworthy people at the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
For speed seekers, an aerodynamic helmet will cut wind more efficiently than a pompadour!
Bells and horns
aren’t just for kiddie bikes. They’re your way of communicating with other bikers, motorists and pedestrians. They’re also the law, and you’ll get dinged with a fine if yours is defective or non-existent.
Nothing gets the attention of a jaywalking pedestrian crossing your path better than a simple and retro
or the heart-stopping wail of an air horn.
is usually an afterthought. But from a half hour before sunset to a half hour after sunrise, it’s mandatory to have a front light, red rear light and side and rear reflectors. It may seem like overkill, but the point is to make you stick out like a sore thumb on a dark street.
With an array of multicolour lighting options, you can look like a party on wheels.
Learn your hand signals!
To turn left, extend your left arm straight out to the left, parallel to the road. To turn right, do the same but angle your left forearm upward at 90 degrees. When slowing down, angle your left forearm downward.
Enjoy the ethereal feeling of time travel, as these were the same signals used by people driving cars as late as the 1950s.
The best safety tip is to cycle defensively
and not take chances. Even if you have the right of way, yield to that 18-wheeler truck. Don’t assume drivers have seen you; instead, cycle cautiously and anticipate their moves. Watch for people in parked cars so you don’t collide with an opening door. And if you’re in Toronto, keep an eye out for potholes, sewer grates and the sworn enemy of urban cyclists: tire-grabbing streetcar tracks!
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