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How to Safely Cycle Around Vancouver

The City of Vancouver is proud to boast some of the most bicycle friendly streets around. However, cyclists have to remember that safety is just as much their responsibility as it is for motorists. As a cycle friendly city, Vancouver makes sure that bicycle lanes are clearly marked and that they are signs indicating where bicycles can safely travel. There are several different signs cyclists may encounter and anyone riding a bicycle in the city should acquaint themselves with these signs and ensure you learn their purpose.

Knowing and obeying all applicable traffic laws is an essential step in maintaining safety for cyclists and motorists on busy Vancouver streets.

First and foremost, share the road! Everyone has somewhere to be, and cyclists and motorists share the exact same rights when traveling as well as the same responsibilities to avoid accidents.

If bicyclists fail to adhere to the traffic laws, they could cause an accident just as easily as a motorist. In fact, bicycle riders can be harder to see, so following all traffic laws is the most important safety precaution any bicyclist can take.

Bicyclists can incur severe injuries if they collide with a motorist and pedestrian and cyclist accidents can be devastating for both parties.

There are many ways you can ensure you are safe and abiding traffic laws when riding your bicycle around Vancouver, including:

• Come to a full stop at all stop signs. Failure to come to a complete stop could cost you a hefty fine since not stopping is present in BC’s Motor Vehicle Act and is illegal
• Make sure others see you, make eye contact or get the person’s attention somehow. You must never assume that they see you, they very well may not
• Be cautious when riding past parked cars, even if it looks the car is empty, if a passenger opens the door as you go by, it could cause a very painful accident for a cyclist. Leave enough room between your path and the vehicle so that if someone opens the door you’ll be able to avoid hitting it
• Always use hand signals before turning, make your actions as predictable as possible so that motorists aren’t surprised when you make a sudden turn
• Always yield to pedestrians and be aware of buses exiting and entering traffic
• Avoid wearing headphones when riding your bike, but always wear a helmet. Try to wear clothing that will stand out to a motorist, reflective vests or other articles of clothing are an excellent option
• Make sure you practice proper maintenance on your bike and that it is always in the best condition possible
• Walk bicycles across crosswalks or on the sidewalks, never ride them in these locations unless there are signs specifically stating that riding is permitted

Brush up on the local laws before heading out for a ride and remember to practice proper safety, not just for your sake, but for everyone else on the road with you!

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