The arrival of spring is the traditional start of cycling season in Ontario. For the province’s city-dwellers, this means an influx of vulnerable road users on already busy streets. Cycling is a healthy, efficient and affordable way to get around congested cities, but for all its benefits there are also risks, as every cycling accident lawyer understands. In Toronto last year, five cyclists were killed and many more injured on the city’s streets.
Here are some safety tips to keep in mind before heading out on your bike this spring.
Check Your Bike
Make sure your bike is in working order before heading out for your first ride. Perform a general check for basic issues: is your tire pressure okay? Are your spokes intact and secure? Are your brake pads and levers working? How about your chain and derailleurs? Identify issues and decide whether to address them yourself. You may be able to reload your chain or replace a flat tire, but more complex problems should be handled by a professional bike shop.
If you’re unsure whether your bike is in good condition, bring it into a shop just in case – many offer deals on spring tune ups.
Safety equipment is important throughout the year, but perhaps never more so than in the spring. The combination of unpredictable weather, lingering winter debris, and a general lack of comfort between cyclists and motorists makes spring a tough time to be on the road.
As any cycling accident lawyer will tell you, the helmet is the most important piece of safety equipment a cyclist can own. It’s not illegal to ride without them in Ontario – not for adults, anyways – but it is highly dangerous. Wearing a helmet significantly reduces the risk of concussions and more serious brain injuries.
In terms of preventative safety gear, visibility is key. Equip your bike with reflectors and wear bright, reflective clothing whenever possible. If you’re planning to bike in the early morning or evening, make sure your bike is equipped with powerful, eye-catching lights. Avoid biking at night at all costs.
Hit the Road
Once your bike is tuned up and tricked out with safety equipment, it’s time to hit the road. Be cautious during your first weeks of riding. You won’t feel as comfortable on the bike in April as you do in September, so give yourself extra time to get from point A to point B.
Remember: riding in the spring can be perilous. Road are often slick with rain and snow melt. Reduce your speed around metal, wood, painted or brick surfaces, as they become slippery when wet. Try also to avoid large puddles, which can push you off balance and obscure hazards.
If You’re Injured, Call an Accident Lawyer
f you or someone you know suffers a cycling injury this spring, don’t hesitate to call Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced cycling accident lawyer. Our team will be here to guide you on your road to recovery.
Image credit: Hallgrimsson/Wikimedia Commons