Bike Day in Canada (http://www.canadabikes.org/activities/bike­day­in­canada/) is being held May 25, 2016. It’s the second annual Bike Day in Canada and serves as an opportunity to tout the various benefits of cycling as well as cycling development. It’s also a chance to encourage more people to use their bikes for transportation or just for fun. Bike Day in Canada is associated with National Health and Fitness Day, which takes place the first Saturday in June.

A lot of people use their bikes. Larger cities tend to host more bicyclists than smaller cities, but it’s a form of transportation that is catching on. According to Statistics Canada, 201,800 commuters regularly commuted to work by way of cycling in 2011. That’s about 1.3% of the population.

Many cities have designated bike lanes along main roads. Plenty of schools and businesses have bike racks installed for students and employees that ride on a regular basis. Whether people find themselves cycling to work, school, or to meet up with friends, the benefits of cycling are worth mentioning. Not only is cycling a cheaper form of transport than driving a car, pumping the pedals can also benefit your overall health. Plus, by not using transportation that requires gasoline, you’re also helping to preserve the environment.

Even with the usage of bicycles in cities increasing, it’s important to maintain safety as both a rider and a motorist. About 7,500 cyclists are seriously injured every year, according to CAA Bike Safety. CAA goes on to share that most accidents occur during the afternoon rush hour, while about 1 in every 3 deaths of cyclists occurs at night or in a place where there is artificial lighting. Cyclists in Canada are most likely to be killed or injured at intersections or where there are traffic signals (http://bikesafety.caa.ca/cyclists/bicycle­statistics.php).

As a cyclist, be sure to adhere to the following safety tips the next time you hop onto a bicycle.

  • Wear a helmet that fits properly
  • Check all parts of your bicycle before riding it. This includes tire pressure, brakes, handlebars, and even your bicycle seat
  • Travel the roads as a vehicle yourself. This means you should always go with the flow of traffic and stay in any designated cyclist lanes
  • Always obey traffic signals
  • Be predictable. As a rider you should use hand signals and maintain a straight line.
  • Always be on the lookout for obstacles
  • Be visible: wear bright colors
  • Never ride while impaired

Even if you aren’t a cyclist it is important to be knowledgeable about riding. That’s because you may come upon a cyclist one day (if you haven’t already) and you should know how to keep both yourself and the rider safe. As a motorist, be sure to adhere to the following safety tips the next time you drive your vehicle.

  • Always respect bike lanes. If you’re unsure of how bike lanes work, refer to an official driving manual
  • Always allow at least three feet of clearance when you are passing someone on a bicycle
  • Before you open your door or back out of a parking space, be sure to check for bicyclists
  • Treat cyclists as vehicles on the road. Yield at intersections and properly follow all signs and signals.
  • Double check for cyclists when you’re turning
  • Never drive distracted or impaired

Whether you’re a cyclist or you intend to stay inside a motor vehicle, it’s important to learn about forms of transportation you share the road with. By gaining knowledge, using the safety tips we’ve suggested, and remaining alert on the road, you can help keep the streets safe for everyone on them.