Road safety

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Cycling safety

Make B.C. a safe place to cycle and respect everyone on the road.

Cyclists, like pedestrians, are vulnerable to significant injuries or death in car crashes. The top two contributing factors police attribute to drivers in car crashes involving cyclists are distracted driving and failing to yield the right-of-way.*

Sharing the road with cyclists

On average, nearly four out of five cyclists are injured at intersections in B.C. When you're driving, you can help reduce the chance of a crash and address the common causes by sharing the road safely.

  • Don't get distracted. Watch for cyclists on the road and make eye contact if you can, so they can anticipate your next move.

  • Shoulder check for cyclists before turning right and watch for oncoming cyclists before turning left.

  • Yield to cyclists and signal well in advance if you need to cross a designated bike lane or pull over to the side of the road.

  • Keep a safe distance (at least three seconds) behind cyclists and make room (at least one metre) when passing a cyclist. Don't risk side-swiping or running a cyclist off the road.

  • Scan for cyclists before you enter the roadway from an alley or get in and out of a parking spot.

Doors can be deadly

It's important that both drivers and passengers shoulder check for cyclists before opening doors. This will help you avoid a "dooring" violation and fine too. "Dooring" is when you open your vehicle door and hit a cyclist.

In B.C., one in 14 car crashes involving cyclists are the result of "dooring".*

This is easily preventable with a handy trick - open with your hand furthest from the door. It makes you twist a little in order to reach the door and remind you to do a shoulder check before proceeding.

Safety tips for cyclists

  • Cycle at least one metre away from parked vehicles so you don't get hit by an opening door. Use caution if you notice people in vehicles as well as taxis.

  • Shoulder check well in advance and hand signal before taking any turns. Remember, drivers sometimes fail to yield right-of-way.

  • Follow the rules of the road. Cycle in a straight line and position yourself where drivers can see you. Avoid their blind spots and treat every driveway like an intersection.

  • Use a bell to alert others when you plan to pass. In some communities, it's illegal to cycle without a bell. Check your bylaw for more information.

Protect yourself before cycling

Start at the top. Always wear an approved bicycle helmet that meets safety standards — it's the law in B.C. and you could be fined for not wearing one.

Make sure you use an approved bicycle helmet that meets safety standards (CSA, ANSI, ASTM or SNELL B-95) and occasionally check for signs of wear. It should be snug, but not uncomfortable, and should not be able to roll off of your head when the chin strap is secured.

Remember to plan for poor weather or low light conditions. Your bicycle must be equipped with a white headlight visible at 150 metres and a rear red light/reflector visible at 100 metres. Be extra visible with reflective gear on your pedals and wheels.

New and returning cyclists

Learn more on cycling skills, bike handling and road safety tips in Bike Sense manual for a safe and enjoyable ride. You may find it helpful to read through real examples of crashes and fault to understand your responsibilities in sharing the road safely.

*Top contributing factors assigned to drivers in car crashes in B.C. involving cyclist injury or fatality based on 2009 to 2013 police data.

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