Cycling Safety Handbook

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3 Contents 1. Before You Ride A. Helmet B. Bicycle Adjustment C. ABC Quick Check 2. Legislation/Acts A. Rights & Responsibilities B. Specific to Bicycles C. Specific to Motor Vehicles 3. On the Road A. Shoulder Check & Signaling B. Traffic Dynamics C. Traffic Cycling Principals D. Where Do You Ride? E. Cycling Crashes & Collisions HALIFAX.CA/SMARTTRIP

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5 1. Before You Ride Bicycle Helmet Review and Fit Effective as of 1997 in Nova Scotia, all cyclists are required to wear a helmet while riding or operating a bicycle, with the chin strap of the helmet to be securely fastened under the chin. (Motor Vehicle Act: Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, paragraph 170A). Cyclists wear helmets in large numbers already. The reasons are clear: bike helmets save lives and reduce the risk of head injury, the cause of most bicycle related deaths. PREVENTION Obviously, the best way to stay safe is to avoid crashes or collisions. Taking a bicycle safety course is an excellent preventative measure. But even experienced cyclists will often have a tale of a fall, the most common kind of crash, where their head hit the ground. If they were wearing a helmet, they most likely walked away from the incident. If they were not, then they may have suffered a concussion or worse. FIT: HELMET SALUTE Two fingers above your eyebrows to the base of the helmet. This protects your forehead in case of a fall. It also positions the helmet so if you fall to one side the sides of your head are protected. Two or four fingers to make a V shape around the bottom of your ears. Keep the straps straight and taut. This will keep the helmet fixed in position as you ride, or in the worst case, fall. One finger under the strap beneath your chin. Keep the chin strap taut so the helmet doesn t slide forwards or backwards on your head. CHILDREN It is particularly important for children to wear helmets. First, because their brains are still in a rapid state of development children s brains need special protection. And second, because not until they reach the age of nine do children begin to have the motor skills and judgement to handle themselves in traffic. And while children are allowed by law to ride their bicycles on the sidewalk in some communities, they are not free from risk. At the end of every block there is a street to cross, and every driveway is an intersection, often one with poor sightlines. Furthermore, sidewalks are narrow with many different users, increasing the chance for conflict and injury. It is recommended that children be supervised. Regardless, without the proper level of skill and judgement, children need to wear bicycle helmets. Children carried as passengers on bicycle seats and bike trailers should wear helmets. Look for the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Snell Memorial Foundation or American National Standards Institute (ANSI) stickers on helmets designed for young children. Only children over age one and weighing less than 18 kilograms (40 pounds) should be carried on bicycle seats. 1

6 Bicycle Adjustment and Fit A bicycle that fits properly is easy to control, comfortable to ride and does not hurt your knees or your back. So many cyclists are riding poorly fitted and adjusted bikes and they come home sore and less eager to get back on their bikes again. Not only is good fit a question of comfort, but also a question of efficiency and above all safety. If you are not sore and tired and constantly struggling with your bike you are going to be able to devote more attention to being safe and enjoying your ride. FRAME SIZE The single most important consideration in choosing a bike is the frame size. You should be able to straddle your bicycle frame, feet flat on the ground, and clear the top tube by an inch or two. The dimensions of the frame affect the fit too, especially the length of the top tube which runs from the seat post to the handlebar stem. Women often find the top tube too long because they tend to have shorter torsos than men of the same height. The result is overextended backs and backache. A simple test to determine the correct length is to place your elbow at the front tip of your seat and stretch your forearm and fingers toward the handlebars. The tips of the fingers should touch the handlebars more or less. If your fingertips do not reach the handlebars then you will need to make some adjustments to the seat, and perhaps replace the handlebar stem for a shorter one. If none of these steps work, then the bike is too big. If you are helping a child choose a bike, keep these same considerations of fit in mind. A good fit will allow the child to develop the confidence and skill which are integral to safe and enjoyable cycling. SADDLE ADJUSTMENTS 1. Height: The next most important aspect of bike fit to consider is the height of the saddle. To test if the saddle height is correct for you place your foot on the pedal with the ball of the foot over the pedal spindle. There should be a slight bend in the knee when the pedal is at the bottom most position. You do not want your knee to become completely straight as you cycle. If your knees lock, then you can injure them. Another test is to put your heel over the pedal spindle. The leg should be straight, the hips should not wobble, and you should not be able to put both of your feet on the ground when in the saddle. While you do not want your knees to lock you do want to maximize the power available in each turn of the pedals, which can only happen when you get good leg extension in each stroke. 2. Angle: Generally, the nose of the saddle should be level with the rear of the saddle. 2

7 3. Fore and Aft: Small adjustments to the position of the saddle along its rails, either forward or backward, can make a big difference to your efficiency and comfort while cycling. You want your forward knee, with your foot on the pedal at a three o clock position, to be directly over the pedal spindle. Another way to check is to drop a plumb line from the center of the knee cap, at the side of the bone. The line should intersect with the pedal spindle. You do not want your knee in front of the pedal spindle because you will strain it and you will be in pain when you ride. If your knee is much behind the spindle you will not be maximizing the power of your stroke, an inefficiency which can lead to fatigue. Sit on the saddle while someone holds the bike upright. Move a pedal to the six o clock position. Your knee should show a slight bend, as shown in the illustration. If not, move the saddle up or down as needed by loosening the saddle-post quick-release clamp bolt. HANDLEBAR ADJUSTMENTS 1. Height: For touring or commuting your handlebars should be even with or slightly below the saddle height. This way your arms will be able to rest lightly on the handlebars. Racers have their handlebars lower for a more aerodynamic position, but more weight is carried by their arms. Recreational riders may want to be more upright, and therefore the handlebars should be higher than the seat. 2. Stems: The handlebar stem joins the handlebars to the steering column. Stems come in a variety of heights and lengths. Be sure that your stem extends the handlebars the right distance to allow for a comfortable ride (See Frame Size for measurement test). 3

8 ABC Quick Check Even if you do not plan to do your own major repairs, you can learn to identify potential problems and perform emergency road-side repairs yourself. ABC Quick Check is an easy way to remember what parts of your bike you need to check quickly before you go for a ride. Practice ABC Quick Check so that you can do it in less than a minute. Please note: The tips which are followed by M will require some mechanical skill, and may involve tools not usually found in a basic kit. You may decide to take the problem to a bike store to fix. A IS FOR AIR Check everything to do with your tires and wheels. Are the tires properly inflated (check the side of the tire for recommended pressure)? Is the tube valve sticking perpendicular out of the rim (if not, deflate the tire adjust valve and re-inflate)? Are the wheels true (true means spinning without wobbling. If they wobble check for loose or broken spokes)? M Is there any looseness in the bearings in the hub (check by holding the wheel and trying to move it from side to side. If there is any looseness you need to get the ballbearing mechanism at the axle adjusted)? M Is the tread or sidewall of the tire badly worn (replace if necessary)? B IS FOR BRAKES AND BARS Check everything to do with the brakes. Are the brake levers far enough from the handlebars (at least two fingers width when pulled)? Are the brake pads touching only the rim of the wheel? Are they too worn? Do the brake pads grab the rim effectively (standing beside your bike, apply the front brake only and push forward on the handlebars. The front wheel should lock up and the back wheel should leave the ground. Then apply the back brake only and walk forward, the back wheel should lock and skid along the ground)? Are the cables worn or frayed Check the handlebars. Is the headset loose (the headset is where the handlebars attach to the frame). Apply the brakes and rock the bike back and forth. If there is any play, then the ballbearing casing needs tightening. Tighten the nut where the handlebar stem meets the head tube. Are the handlebars loose, either from side to side or up and down (hold the front wheel between your knees and try to twist the handlebars side to side. If loose tighten the bolt at the top of the stem. Try to twist the handlebars up and down. If loose tighten the bolt where the stem attaches to the handlebars.) Newer handlebar and stem systems will likely require expert service. 4

9 C IS FOR CHAIN AND CRANK Check everything to do with the drive train. Is the chain rust-free and lubricated? Do the pedals spin freely? Are the gear derailleurs in the correct position? Is there any looseness in the bottom bracket (where the axle attaches to the pedals and the cranks to the frame. If there is any looseness, the bracket should be tightened as soon as possible)? M QUICK IS FOR QUICK RELEASE Check the nuts or the levers that clamp the wheel axles to the forks. Are the nuts or levers on tight? Are the levers protected by positioning them flush with the forks? CHECK IS FOR A FINAL CHECK Lift the bike several inches off the ground and drop it. Listen for loose parts. Tighten as necessary. Try your brakes as you ride off. 5

10 2. Legislation / Acts The legislation in Nova Scotia describes how road users should behave. It governs all road users, including cyclists. This legislation is known as the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA). RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES This act considers the bicycle as a vehicle. Many people, whether cyclists or not, consider the bicycle to be a toy. While a bike is fun, it is not a toy. Cyclists as vehicle operators have the same rights and responsibilities as other road users. The same traffic laws apply to both cyclists and motorists. The more cyclists ride their bikes as vehicles, according to the law, the more motorists and other road users are likely to respect cyclists. Although there are often reasons to be provoked while riding a bike, cyclists should try to avoid confrontation, for one thing it can compromise your safety. Communication, cooperation and courtesy are the tools that cyclists have to promote safety for themselves and others. LEGISLATION/ACTS WRITTEN FOR MOTOR VEHICLES Bicycles are vehicles, but the roads are designed for cars and trucks. Motor vehicles occupy the whole lane, while a bicycle only occupies a part of the lane. Cyclists, therefore, must make judgments about their position on the road depending on several factors: skill level traffic volume and speed the condition and width of the road and the lane weather conditions visibility This is not to say that a cyclist should not be assertive. One of the most courteous actions cyclists can take is to assume responsibility for their own safety. Define the space you need for your safety and communicate your decision to the road users around you, then motorists can act accordingly. Do not ask another road user to guess what your safety needs are. 6

11 Acts/Bylaws for Nova Scotia as taken from the Motor Vehicle Act: Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes, 1989: 1 Metre SPECIFIC TO BICYCLES: Where a roadway has a bicycle lane travelling in the same direction that a car is travelling, the cyclist shall ride in the bicycle lane unless it is impracticable to do so. A cyclist who is not riding in a bicycle lane shall ride as far to the right side of the roadway as practicable or on the right-hand shoulder of the roadway unless the cyclist is (a) in the process of making a left turn in the same manner as a driver of a motor vehicle, (b) travelling in a rotary or roundabout, (c) passing a vehicle on the vehicle s left, or (d) encountering a condition on the roadway, including a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, pedestrian, animal or surface hazard that prevents the person from safely riding to the right side of the roadway; A cyclist on a highway shall ride in the same direction as the flow of traffic. SPECIFIC TO MOTOR VEHICLES: A driver of a car shall not pass a bicycle travelling in the same direction unless (a) there is sufficient space to do so safely; and (b) the driver leaves at least one metre open space between the vehicle and the cyclist. Notwithstanding subsection 115(2) of the MVA, a driver of a motor vehicle may cross a line to pass a bicycle in accordance with subsection (1) if the driver can do so safely as required by Section , c. 59, s

12 3. On the Road Shoulder Checking and Signaling Left-hand turn Right-hand turn Right-hand turn Stop SHOULDER CHECKING You need to be able to shoulder check while maintaining your straight line to determine what is behind you before you make deviations, lane position changes, lane changes and turns safely. Shoulder checking involves looking over your shoulder to see what following traffic is doing. It can also act as a kind of communication, especially in heavy traffic, when you do not want to take your hands off the handlebars. Mastering the shoulder check needs practice, but also indicates a confident and competent cyclist. Shoulder checking and signaling are two skills always performed together (in sequence, and not at the same time). Practice your straight line riding including shoulder checking and signaling. One hint to maintaining your line is to keep pedaling. SIGNALING You need to signal to communicate your intentions to other road users. Clear, crisp, strong signaling can be a powerful, assertive tool, opening up spaces you did not know existed, and establishing respect and gratitude from other road users that you know what you are doing. You need to be able to signal while still maintaining your straight line, and because you are only using one hand to steer with when you are signaling you need to practice. Always have two hands on your handlebars when you are actually turning. The palm of the hand should face other road users behind the cyclist in all hand signals, except for the right turn signal in which the back of the hand faces other road users. Keeping your fingers extended and slightly apart increases signal visibility. 8

13 Traffic Dynamics The bicycle is smaller and usually slower than other vehicles on the road. It is important, therefore, for cyclists to know how traffic works and how cyclists can function safely and effectively in it. There are a number of basic guidelines to follow. Our roads are designed to encourage predictable behaviour, usually from motor vehicles. In terms of road design, the bicycle is often an afterthought. As a result cyclists need to be even more conscious of their behaviour than other vehicle operators. A BASIC APPROACH TO SAFETY: 1. See 2. Be Seen 3. Be Predictable 1. SEE Cyclists need to know what is going on around them on the road. In particular, they need to anticipate what will happen down the road, particularly at intersections. By anticipating potential problems (for example, cars turning at an intersection) cyclists can plan where they will position themselves to avoid conflict as much as possible. 2. BE SEEN Cyclists are safest when other road users can see them. Using lights at night and wearing bright and reflective clothing are two obvious ways of being visible. But being visible also means being a part of the traffic flow. Choosing the correct road position is an important part of being visible. 3. BE PREDICTABLE Cyclists are predictable when they ride according to the law, when they ride in a straight line, and when they communicate their intentions about changing position or direction. By following these guidelines cyclists send a clear and confident message to other road users that bicycles are an effective and safe method of transportation, and that bicycles belong on the road. 9

14 Traffic Cycling Principles All vehicle operators, regardless of the type of vehicle they operate, follow the same basic traffic principles. The size and speed of your vehicle may influence how you apply these principles, but the reason is the same: to reduce conflicts between road users. 2. YIELD TO CROSSING TRAFFIC WHEN APPROPRIATE Understanding the following basic traffic principles will enable you, as a cyclist, to ride safely in most traffic situations: 1. RIDE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE ROADWAY Do not ride on the left, and not on the sidewalk. Cyclists who ride facing traffic are more vulnerable, because other road users do not expect wrong-way traffic. Sidewalk riding is also very hazardous because each driveway or laneway becomes, in effect, an intersection. As well, drivers expect sidewalk traffic to be travelling at walking speed. Yielding means deciding if you must give way and, if so, waiting until it is safe to go. There are two basic rules for drivers who meet at intersections: a) the driver on the minor street or lane yields to the driver on the main street; and b) at an uncontrolled intersection, the driver who arrives last yields, or, if the drivers arrive simultaneously, the one on the left yields. Remember: Person on the right has right-of-way. 3. YIELD TO SAME-DIRECTION TRAFFIC WHEN APPROPRIATE Every driver who wants to move into a new line of travel must look behind to check that it is safe to do so. 10

15 4. POSITION YOURSELF AT INTERSECTIONS DEPENDING ON YOUR INTENDED DIRECTION BEYOND THE INTERSECTION. At a simple intersection, start a left turn from near the centerline, and a right turn from near the curb. At a multiple-lane intersection, choose the right- most lane that serves your destination. 5. POSITION YOURSELF BETWEEN INTERSECTIONS ACCORDING TO YOUR SPEED RELATIVE TO THE REST OF THE TRAFFIC AND THE USEABLE WIDTH OF THE ROAD. On a lane that is too narrow to share, ride in the middle. On a wide lane, if you are the slower vehicle, ride to the right; if you are the faster vehicle, pass on the left and don t squeeze between moving cars and the curb. It is OK to pass a left-turning vehicle on its right (but be sure it s really turning left). There are, of course, many other skills, including collision avoidance techniques, that are taught in a CAN-BIKE course. 11

16 Where Do You Ride? The Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) in Nova Scotia states that a cyclist should ride as far to the right as practicable. It does not say a cyclist should ride as far to the right as possible. For the purposes of this booklet, we interpret practicable to mean safe and efficient. In fact, the MVA allows you to occupy any part of a lane when your safety warrants it. Because a cyclist only fills part of a lane, you have to decide where to ride in the lane, based on your judgement of traffic, road conditions and lane width. As a vehicle operator a cyclist may change lanes or make vehicular style left hand turns when need arises. Positioning yourself for your destination you should generally take the right most lane going to your destination. The MVA outlines what you must do. But legal definitions do not necessarily define all you need to do to cycle safely. There are four key concepts: 1. MANOEUVRABILITY 2. VISIBILITY 3. PREDICTABILITY 4. COMMUNICATION 1. Manoeuvrability is about creating and maintaining escape routes so you can take evasive action if necessary. The general rule is that you maintain one metre from the curb or from parked cars. The metre leaves you enough room to manoeuvre if a motorist passes too closely. Most often though, motorists seeing that you have given yourself one metre, will pass you by a similar distance. If you ride too closely to the curb, you may catch a pedal, which could throw you off your bike. More important, though, is that by riding a metre from the curb you avoid most road edge hazards such as debris, sewer grates, potholes, etc., and will not have to weave around them. When riding next to parked cars, maintain your metre to help avoid car doors opening in your path. And at intersections be careful about stopping on the right side of cars. Stay in front, or pull in behind to put yourself in a better position to be visible. 2. Visibility is ensuring that other road users see you. Remain in the flow of traffic to stay in motorist s field of vision sooner. As a small object on the road you want to distinguish yourself from curbside elements like newspaper boxes and lamp posts, so maintain your meter from the curb. * At night, be sure you have a white light in front, and a red light in the rear, and wear bright clothing. 12

17 3. Predictability is about ensuring that the other road users know where you are going, and how and when you are going to get there. By riding in a straight line you will not have to weave around curbside hazards, and you will send a clear message that you are in control of your bicycle and know what you are doing. A weaving cyclist makes a motorist nervous because the cyclist s behaviour is not predictable. When stopped at intersections do not put your foot on the curb, or lean against utility poles. You take yourself out of the traffic flow and you make it difficult for a motorist to predict what you will do next. You also create the possibility of being cut off by right turning vehicles. As well, you will have to work to re-establish your own position in the traffic flow. Maintain your one metre distance at intersections too. 4. Communication is about letting other road users know what you are doing and are going to do. By establishing your road position early, by shoulder checking, signaling, making eye contact, using your bell or voice, you can negotiate your way through traffic in cooperation with other road users. TRAFFIC DYNAMICS Manoeuvrability Escape route One metre from the curb Narrow lanes Extra wide lanes Parked cars Predictability Rules of the road Straight line riding Lane Position Bell/horn Hand signals Visibility In flow of traffic In motorist s field of vision See and be seen Lane position Bell/horn Hand signals Lights Clothing Communication Eye contact Lane position Bell/horn Shoulder check Hand signals Lights Clothing Eye contact 13

18 Parked Cars Cyclists call it the door prize and it s no fun at all: a car door swings open in front of you and there is no place to go. Fortunately, there is a simple way to avoid this kind of collision. Ride in a straight line one metre away from parked cars in the same way you leave one metre between you and the curb. Keep to this line even if the cars are far apart. Continuous swerving in and out lengthens your journey, but more importantly, takes you out of the following motorists field of vision. Each time you emerge from between parked cars you are putting yourself at risk and are forced to re-establish your space on the travelled portion of the road. When should you pull back into the curb? Your decision should be based on how long a gap there is to the next parked car, how visible you are, and how difficult it will be to rejoin the traffic flow. You can ask yourself: Would a car change lanes here? The opening car door is not the only hazard. Cars pulling out from a parking space and pedestrians walking into the road from between parked cars are also a concern. If you are cycling a metre away from the parked cars in the right hand portion of the lane you give yourself a lot of room to manoeuvre. When approaching a row of parked cars give yourself plenty of time. Establish your new lane position early, even fifty to one hundred metres beforehand if possible. Here is how you should establish your new position: 1. Shoulder Check to see if there is space to move out. 2. Signal to indicate your intention to move out. 3. Life Saver Shoulder Check to be sure the following vehicle is aware of your intentions. 4. Move Decisively 14

19 Intersection Positioning Intersections are unavoidable. They are also frequent. Anywhere two vehicles could cross paths is an intersection. Intersections include cross streets but also lanes and driveways. Intersections are where most collisions occur. Because there are many turning movements at intersections where one vehicle is crossing the path of another, cyclists are safest when they plan ahead, anticipate the probable movements of other vehicles and establish a good lane position early. Remember: SEE, BE SEEN, BE PREDICTABLE Because cyclists are in the curb lane they may come into conflict with other vehicles turning right. You will often see a cyclist trying to travel straight through the intersection passing a motorist trying to turn right. The cyclist will pass the motorist on the right, between the car and the curb. Sometimes, while the motorist has started to turn but is waiting for pedestrians to cross, the cyclist will try to pass in front of the car. This action by the cyclist is dangerous, inefficient, discourteous and unnecessary. It is dangerous because the cyclist enters the motorist s blind spot at a point where the motorist is preoccupied with watching for other traffic and pedestrians. It is inefficient because it slows the cyclist down, breaking the flow of the journey. It is discourteous because it raises the anxiety and frustration of the motorist. And it is unnecessary because there is a safer way to approach this situation. The cyclist has three options to deal with right turning vehicles: 1. Stay in front of the car, one metre from the curb. A 2. Stay behind the car, one metre from the curb. B 3. Pass legally on the left by shoulder checking, signalling, shoulder checking again and moving decisively to the left hand edge of the lane when it is safe to do so. C Of course, there are also times when a motorist will try to pass a cyclist and make a right turn in front of the cyclist, possibly underestimating the cyclist s speed and thinking there is enough time; or the motorist may try to make the turn from too far left in the turn lane. The best defense here is to establish your lane position early, at least one metre from the curb, making it difficult for a motorist to cut you off. Always shoulder check to see what other vehicles may do at an approaching intersection. B C A While you are waiting at a light a car or truck may pull up beside you so that you are in the driver s blind spot, or so you cannot see the vehicle s turn signal. Move out of this position if you can. Watch the front wheel of the vehicle for the first indication that it is beginning to turn. Take evasive action as necessary. For example, wait and let the vehicle move ahead of you. 15

20 Destination Positioning Your lane position, especially at intersections, is an important indicator to other road users about your intentions. Ask yourself where you want to be once you have cleared the intersection and choose your lane position accordingly. CYCLING STRAIGHT THROUGH INTERSECTIONS If you are cycling straight through, then line yourself up with where you will be cycling after the intersection before you enter it. For example, if you are cycling beside parked cars before the intersection and there are parked cars on the other side, then rather than moving back to the curb when the parking stops retain your position. If you move to the curb, then motorists following you or motorists turning left from the opposite direction may believe you are turning right and act accordingly, possibly resulting in conflict. Maintaining your straight line path through the intersection sends a clear message to other road users. 16

21 Right Turn Only Lanes Stay out of right turn only lanes unless you plan to turn right. You may be forced by a right turning vehicle to turn when you do not want to, or you may find it difficult to re-enter the traffic flow once you have left it. If you plan to cycle straight through, then be sure to shoulder check to ensure following motorists are aware of your intentions. If the curb lane you are cycling in becomes a right turn only lane, plan ahead and change lanes early to avoid last minute conflict at the intersection. TURNING RIGHT Maintain your lane position as you turn right, taking the whole lane if necessary, especially if the lane is narrow. You do not want to be squeezed off the road by another right turning vehicle. Shoulder check, and signal your intentions before you turn. Yield to pedestrians. 17

22 Turning Left as a Vehicle The bicycle, as a vehicle, can make vehicular-style left hand turns, using left lanes and left turn lanes. For many cyclists the idea of turning left in this way is not familiar and may seem dangerous. As long as you prepare well, though, and indicate your intentions to other road users this manoeuvre is safe and effective. By behaving like other vehicles when making left turns your actions are predictable. Other kinds of left turns are more dangerous. For example, trying to turn left from the right hand lane or curb puts you in conflict with all other road users and is not predictable behaviour. RESIDENTIAL STREETS You can practice left turns on residential streets first. Always turn from the center or left part of the lane. Plan ahead. Shoulder check, signal, life saver shoulder check, then move decisively to your new lane position when it is safe to do so. Yield to oncoming traffic. On a one way street, turn left from the left or center part of the lane. The key principle is to spend as little time in the intersection as possible to minimize the chances for conflict with other road users, so plan ahead and take the most direct path to your destination. 18

23 Pedestrian Left Turn Remount Stop. Dismount. Walk There is always another option for making a left turn. That is dismounting and walking across the crosswalk to the other side. Cyclists must not cycle through a crosswalk, and must stop behind the white stop line. Being in front of the white stop line is also illegal and dangerous because you put yourself into potential conflict with other vehicles turning right. There are many reasons why you might want to make a pedestrian style turn: it can be faster, the traffic may be aggressive, it may be nighttime or the visibility may be poor due to weather. Lane Changes You may need to change lanes for a number of reasons. A lane is blocked ahead, for example, or all cars in your lane are turning right, the curb lane diverges and you want to continue straight, or you are preparing for a left or right turn. In all cases, it is important to plan ahead, judge when is the best time to make your lane change, shoulder check, signal, life saver shoulder check, then move when it is safe to do so. Because a bicycle is not big enough to physically or visually dominate a lane the cyclist must also decide which part of the lane center, left or right - is most appropriate at any one time. This will change with circumstances. Changes within a lane should also be accompanied by shoulder checks and a signal. If you are changing multiple lanes, to make a left hand turn on an arterial road, for example, then you must evaluate how you are going to cross. You can either cross all the lanes at once by waiting for a gap in the flow, which is best when the street is carrying heavy high speed traffic, 25 kmh or more faster than you. Or you can negotiate one lane at a time, especially useful in slow moving, congested traffic. 19

24 Dealing with Trucks and Buses Cyclists: In front, behind, NOT BESIDE CORRECT POSITION The cyclist needs to position him/herself before or after the vehicle never beside when stopped at an intersection. 1. This position keeps the cyclist out of the driver s blind spots. The cyclist remains where the motorist can see him/her. 2. It gives the cyclist SPACE to move should a motorist pass too closely. 3. It removes the cyclist from the hazard of being crushed by a right turning vehicle. COMMON MOTORIST ERROR! Not giving the cyclist SPACE when passing or when stopped at an intersection. The driver of a large vehicle should not position his/her vehicle in such a manner as to obscure the cyclist from his/her field of vision. The motorist (especially in the case of a large vehicle) should never overtake a cyclist stopped at an intersection and proceed to make a right turn. COMMON CYCLIST ERROR! Passing a motor vehicle, on the right, when the vehicle is stopped at an intersection. The driver cannot see the cyclist, or expect a vehicle to pass on the right. Wait behind if the motor vehicle is first to reach the intersection or shoulder check, signal, life saver shoulder check, and pass on the left. When stopped at the intersection, remain in the proper lane position (one metre from the curb) to assert your place in traffic. 20

25 Stay BEHIND turning vehicles CORRECT POSITION A cyclist needs to remain behind the vehicle turning right at an intersection. WHY? 1. Passing on the right places the cyclist at great risk of injury from a collision with the vehicle. The driver cannot see the cyclist and does not expect a vehicle (bicycle) to pass on the right. 2. Allows the cyclist SPACE to manoeuvre and, if the way is safe, to pass the vehicle on the left. 3. The cyclist remains visible to the driver of the vehicle by not entering the blind spot. The cyclist also has greater visibility. 4. Most trucks usually have to make a wide right turn, thus the rear wheels will track inside the front wheels. Avoid being to the right of a right turning truck. COMMON CYCLIST ERROR! Squeezing into the narrow space between the curb/parked car and the turning vehicle. The motor vehicle that has reached the intersection ahead of the cyclist has the right of way. The cyclist should remain behind the vehicle and proceed when the way is clear. The experienced cyclist may choose to pass the vehicle on the left if there is sufficient space. COMMON MOTORIST ERROR! Making a right turn at the intersection where the cyclist has arrived first and is stopped. This is a potential fatal scenario for the cyclist. The motorist should position their vehicle behind the cyclist and as far to the right as is practical including crossing over the broken line of the bicycle lane. 21

26 Cycling Crashes and Collisions Understanding how and where cycling crashes and collisions happen will help you anticipate and prevent possible problems on the road. Developing adequate handling skills will serve you well if the need arises. And wearing a certified helmet will help protect you as a last resort. REMEMBER: SEE, BE SEEN, BE PREDICTABLE. TYPES OF CRASHES Most crashes can be categorized into one of four kinds, depending on the mechanics of the crash: 1. Stopping: front wheel (and bike) stops 2. Skidding: back wheel (or both wheels) slide sideways 3. Diverting: front wheel is diverted out from under the cyclist 4. Insufficient Speed: not enough speed to balance the bike CRASHES AND COLLISIONS Most crashes are simple falls that do not involve a motor vehicle Falls often result in serious injuries Avoiding falling is primarily a matter of improving cycling skills and paying attention to road hazards Collisions with motor vehicles are less common than falls, but tend to result in more serious injuries Collisions with large vehicles tend to result in more serious injury Most car/bike collisions happen at intersections where vehicles are turning or crossing Cycling on the sidewalk increases the potential for conflicts with motor vehicles at intersections, lanes and driveways Wrong-way riding (i.e., riding on the wrong side of the road, or on the sidewalk against the direction of traffic flow) is a factor in many car/bike collisions. Motorists entering or crossing a road do not expect traffic coming from the wrong direction, and typically look most carefully to the left. Children may lack experience and judgment, and should be supervised while cycling Teens often underestimate the dangers of some common cycling habits, such as entering the road from a sidewalk or driveway without yielding Cyclist error is usually less of a factor in collisions involving adult cyclists Most collisions involve some degree of carelessness or inattention on the part of the motorist and/or cyclist 22

27 Remember: See Be Seen Be Predictable HALIFAX.CA/SMARTTRIP

28 ORKSHIFT CARPOOL TRANSIT CARSHARE WALK CYCLE RUN WO CARPOOL TRANSIT CARSHARE WALK CYCLE RUN WORKSHIFT C CARPOOL TRANSIT CARSHARE WALK CYCLE RUN WORKSHIFT C T CARPOOL TRANSIT CARSHARE WALK CYCLE RUN WORKSHIFT FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Julie Wynn SmartTrip Coordinator halifax.ca/smarttrip

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