SASKATOON – The Saskatoon Transit lockout has left many people with only a bicycle or walking as a means of travel within the city, making sharing the roads much more important.
With the labour dispute, more people are commuting to school and work increasing the amount of traffic on roadways and sidewalks.
Police say drivers need to pay particular attention to cyclists sharing the road and for pedestrians at intersections.
It is a cyclists responsibility to follow the rules of the road. Most laws and regulations that govern traffic also apply to them.
Pedestrians should stay on the sidewalk, cross at crosswalks and proceed with caution when crossing streets.
Saskatoon offers a network of cycling routes with signage so drivers can be aware that they are expected to share the road.
For bicyclists looking for the best route to take, the city’s cycling guide rates every road in Saskatoon from novice to expert.
Under city bylaws, every biker needs brakes and a horn or bell. A headlight and rear deflector are also required from a half-hour after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise and bicyclists must dismount and walk bikes when in a crosswalk.
If able to maintain the same speed as motorists, cyclists can occupy a full lane. If not, they should stay to the right and allow vehicles to pass. Failure to do so could result in a $125 fine.
It is illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk and could result in a $50 fine or $25 if it is paid within two weeks. Bridges are an exception – a person can operate a bicycle on bridge sidewalks but must always yield to pedestrians.
Although not mandatory, it is strongly recommended bicyclists hear helmets.
Saskatoon police say courtesy to other motorists is always preferred and asks bikers pull to the right to let traffic flow. Parked motorists should always check to see whether anyone is approaching before opening vehicle doors.
Here are some safety tips to help drivers and cyclists arrive safely:
Tips for motorists:
- Scan aggressively for cyclists and pedestrians;
- Wet weather conditions affect your ability to see other road users, especially cyclists;
- Plan turns and lane changes well in advance and be aware of cyclist routes and bike paths;
- Never follow cyclists too close as they can stop quicker than a motor vehicle.
Tips for cyclists:
- Wear a bike helmet;
- Be extra cautious at busy intersections;
- Be wary – of vehicles, pedestrians and other road users;
- Be seen – use your horn, hand signals and light to be seen by other road users.