The cycling industry is booming as more people turn to outdoor activities during the pandemic. As more people hit the road, experts say it is important to know proper bike safety.
“I think the most important thing that people on bikes need to know is how to communicate where they are going and what they are doing on the road and that is just basic signalling,” said Jean Greig, program manager at B!KE: The Peterborough Community Bike Shop, based in Peterborough, Ont.
“These days accepted signalling is if you’re turning left, point to the left and if you’re turning right, point right.”
Greig said if you’re slowing to a stop to point your left hand to the ground with the elbow bent at 90 degrees.
“Be loud, be proud so that drivers can see what you are going to do,” said Greig.
As for drivers, Greig said an important thing to remember is, when parked, check for cyclists before you open your door.
“A good tip so you remember is to get in the habit of opening your door with your right hand,” she said. “That way you automatically look before you open it.”
When it comes to helmets Greig said it is important to get the right fit.
“We use the two, ‘V’, one rule,” she said. “Two fingers between your eyebrows and the helmet at the front; V, the straps at the side should come to a nice V under your ear; and one, when you clip your helmet under your chin you should be able to fit one finger between the strap and your chin.”
She added that it is the law in Ontario for anyone under the age of 18 to wear a helmet when cycling.
Dave Frise, owner of Peterborough bike shop Spokes ‘N’ Pedals, said bike maintenance is also important so that your ride is safe and your bike lasts longer.
“The first thing you want to do is make sure your tires are pumped up and firm,” said Frise.
“When you sit on your bike, the tires shouldn’t squish down.”
He said if they do, you are at risk of flat tires, a tough ride and damaging your bike rims.
Frise said another easy way to maintain your bike is to clean out any excess dirt and grime.
“Take a cloth and hold it gently against the rims,” he said. “Give your tire a spin and it will help to clean the dirt from that area.”
If you don’t, it could affect your brakes.
“Every time you apply the brakes it will pound the dirt into your brake pads so you’ll notice they squeal or just won’t stop you very well.”
He said it is also important to keep the chain lubricated, he suggested wiping the chain with a cloth after as well.
“If you do that it will ride a lot better with a lot less effort and you won’t get halfway back and find you’re walking home, carrying your bike,” said Frise.