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ICBC's tips as crashes involving cyclists peak across B.C.

May 21, 2014


With Bike to Work Week approaching (May 26 to June 1) and warmer weather encouraging more cyclists on our roads, the B.C. government, police and ICBC are asking drivers and cyclists to share our roads and do their part to help keep everyone safe.

On average, 160 cyclists are injured every month from May to October when crashes involving cyclists peak in B.C.

ICBC's tips for cyclists:

  • The beginning of the cycling season is a good time to tune up your bike. Perform regular maintenance and safety checks yourself or take your bike to a qualified bike mechanic to prevent mechanical breakdown.

  • Plan your route before you set off, give yourself plenty of time and choose bike lanes and paths whenever possible. If you're new to cycling, choose routes with less traffic. Municipalities often have great maps of bike routes and you can now use Google Maps to plan your cycling route.

  • With varying weather at this time of year, it's important to plan for the conditions you may encounter. This means having reflective gear and lights in case they become necessary. When riding at dusk, dawn or at night, your bike must be equipped with a white headlight visible at 150 metres and a rear red light and reflector visible at 100 metres. Consider adding more lights to be even more visible

  • It's illegal to cycle on most sidewalks or in crosswalks.* It puts pedestrians in danger and drivers don't expect cyclists to enter the roadway from a sidewalk.

  • Ride at least one metre away from parked vehicles to avoid being hit by an opening door or a vehicle pulling into your lane from the curb. Be extra cautious if you notice someone in the vehicle.

  • Always wear a helmet – it's the law in B.C. Make sure you use an approved bicycle helmet that meets safety standards and periodically inspect it for signs of wear.

  • Be aware of what's going on around you at all times and keep an eye on the road well ahead for hazards like potholes, gravel, glass and drainage grates. Watch for vehicles entering the roadway from laneways and parking lots.

ICBC's tips for drivers:

  • Actively watch for cyclists on the road and make eye contact whenever possible to let them know you see them.

  • Always shoulder check to look for cyclists before turning right and watch for oncoming cyclists before turning left. If you need to cross a bike lane to turn right or to pull to the side of the road, signal well in advance and yield to cyclists. Don't underestimate the speed a cyclist is travelling.

  • If you're entering the roadway from a laneway or parking lot, always scan for cyclists and other road users.

  • Before you or one of your passengers open a vehicle door, check for oncoming cyclists. You also need to shoulder check for cyclists before you pull away from a curb.

  • Cyclists may need to react quickly and unexpectedly to avoid hazards on the road so it's important to leave at least three seconds of following distance.

  • Don't honk your horn at a cyclist unless you need to give them a warning. A loud honk could startle them or even cause them to fall.

Quotes:

Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure

"Now that warmer weather has arrived, the number of cyclists on the road increases so it is especially important that drivers and cyclists do their part to share our roads together safely," said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. "Both cyclists and drivers need to be aware and watch for each other at all times to help keep our roads safe for everyone."

Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice

"As an avid cyclist, I know how important it is for cyclists to be focused on what's happening around them at all times," said Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice. "Put your ear buds and phones away, and keep your eyes on the road well ahead to watch for hazards like potholes, a car door opening into your path or a vehicle entering traffic from a laneway or parking lot. Drivers should also be aware and be scanning for cyclists. Before opening your door, remember to shoulder check for cyclists as well as before changing lanes, turning right, or pulling away from a curb."

Chief Officer Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee

"Cyclists are an important part of communities across British Columbia," said Chief Officer Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. "During Bike to Work Week, we're asking drivers and cyclists to follow the rules of the road and make the right choices to help prevent crashes. As a driver, leave at least three seconds of following distance between your vehicle and a cyclist and make sure you understand the hand signals cyclists use. As a cyclist, wear a helmet regardless of how far you're travelling to protect yourself from serious injury and ride predictably to help drivers anticipate your next move."

John Dickinson, ICBC's director of road safety

"As both a bicycle commuter and a driver, I have learned to anticipate the unexpected on our roads," said John Dickinson, ICBC's director of road safety. "As a cyclist, always make eye contact with drivers – never assume they've seen you. Drivers should give cyclists plenty of room so they have time to react to sudden hazards. Be extra cautious at intersections and always shoulder check for cyclists before turning right and watch for oncoming cyclists before turning left."

Statistics**:

  • In the Lower Mainland, on average, 630 cyclists are injured and four killed from May to October every year. That means an average of 100 cyclists are injured every month from May to October in the Lower Mainland.

  • On Vancouver Island, on average, 180 cyclists are injured and one killed from May to October every year.

  • In the Southern Interior, on average, 110 cyclists are injured and two killed from May to October every year.

  • In the North Central region, on average, 30 cyclists are injured and one killed from May to October every year.

*According to the Motor Vehicle Act, cyclists must not ride on a sidewalk unless authorized by a bylaw made under section 124 or unless otherwise directed by a sign.

**Crash data is from 2009 to 2013 and fatality data is from 2008 to 2012.

To see where crashes involving cyclists are happening in Metro Vancouver and the Capital Regional District, view ICBC's online cyclist crash map that was recently updated with 2013 crash data.

Media contact:
Lindsay Olsen
604-982-4759