How Cyclists Can Stay Safe on the Road

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Bicycle Safety Tips

After a winter that seemed like it would never, ever end, spring has finally settled in Ottawa. Sleeves are getting shorter, thick layers are being traded for light fabrics, and the ByWard Market is filing up with vendors of all stripes. If you're looking for a great way to get around, get some exercise, or just have some fun, a bicycle may be perfect for you. However, every spring and summer, as more cyclists hit the road, a personal injury lawyer may see an increase in related accidents if people aren't careful (especially in Ottawa). Whether this is your first time riding a bike in the city, or you're a veteran of the city's many roads and pathways, it never hurts to learn or relearn some basic safety practices.

The Right Equipment

The most important piece of equipment is your bicycle itself-if you're buying a new one, make sure to get the correct type for your intended use, and make sure that it is the correct size. You can always ask a salesperson for help with this. Ideally, the seat should be adjusted so that your leg fully extends on the down-stroke of each pedal. Before taking your bike, new or old, out for the first ride of the year, make sure your tires have the appropriate air pressure, and that all bolts and screws are tightened. You should also have a bell or horn, a functional brake, a white front light, and a red rear light as well as reflectors. Helmets are not required by law for riders over 18, but your Ottawa personal injury lawyer wants to remind you that wearing with a snug fit in the proper position will greatly reduce the risk of injury or death should you be involved in an accident.

Observing the Rules of the Road

You may not know this, but as a cyclist, you are actually subject to the same rules and bear the same responsibilities that a motorist does. While a motorist, for example, must let other drivers know that they intend to turn by using a signal light, you must do the same using hand signals. Since these signals require you to ride (at least temporarily) one-handedly, you might want to take an afternoon practicing them in an empty lot. If you don't personally drive a car, you can familiarize yourself with some of the road rules that apply to you with this handy guide to safe bicycling prepared by the Ontario Ministry of transportation.

Taking the time to make sure that your bike is the right fit, includes the right equipment, and that everything is in working order, as well as learning how to practice safe cycling, can go a long way to keeping you out of an accident this spring and summer. If you are involved in an accident with a motor vehicle that has caused damage to your property or injury to your person, don't hesitate to contact your Ottawa personal injury lawyer (after seeking appropriate medical attention, of course). Happy trails!

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