Spring is time for biking—but safely please

Rules of the road apply to bicyclists too

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As the weather warms up, most people prefer to bike around to get some exercise or enjoy the fresh spring air. However, rules still apply to bicyclists on the road, such as scanning ahead for traffic or pedestrians and using hand signals when turning. Each year, according to CAA, 7,500 Canadian cyclists are injured. The afternoon rush has been the time of day where most of these injuries are caused, most likely at intersections or places with large traffic.

The bicycle was introduced in Europe in the 19th century.  The modest bicycle was known as a Dandy horse in the 1817 by German inventor, Baron Karl Von Drais. It was the first human means of transport with only two wheels. The first mechanically propelled two wheel was built in 1839 by a Scottish blacksmith named Kirkpatrick Mac Millan. Today there are twice as many bicycles than automobiles with over 1 billion produced.

When riding a bike, it is best to wear a helmet to avoid head injuries. By wearing your helmet, you reduce the risk of a brain injury by 85%. To wear a helmet properly, the helmet should fit and cover the head with two fingers width above the eyebrows.

Other bicycle equipment would include bells or horns, lights, reflectors, brakes, proper footwear, clothing and a water bottle. The bell or horn would allow the bicyclist to alert pedestrians. The lights and reflectors are to allow cars or pedestrians to see the cyclist when biking at night. Clothing wise, it should be light toned colours to allow visibility to other with running or biking shoes. To avoid dehydration, it is always good to bring a water bottle.

Providing your bike with care and maintenance will allow the bike to last longer. When doing maintenance remember A, B, and C. A is for the air in the tires. Make sure they are properly inflated and that they are not worn or cracked. B is brakes, bars, and bells. Bars are to be set to the correct height (able to ride without causing strain to the back, shoulders, or wrists), the brakes are to made sure that they are working properly by squeezing the brake levers, and bells are to used to communicate with others. C is for chain and crank. The chain is to be ensured that it won’t slip or if it requires oil. The crank is to check the gear shifts of the bike to see if they can shift easily and cleanly.

When riding a bike, be safe and alert, but also enjoy the exercise and the weather.

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