Whatever your reason for riding a bike, here are just a few tips that apply to all types of cycling.
The Toronto Bicycle/Motor-Vehicle Collision Study is a good resource to help cyclists and drivers identify the types of scenarios that can lead to conflict between road users.
Check out this commuter tip video!
Here is a great Cycling in Toronto handbook.
How to be prepared for rain showers.
Where do I ride?
According to the Highway Traffic Act, on streets where there are no bike lanes, cyclists are expected to ride as far to the right, in the curb lane, as “practicable.” It furthermore suggests that cyclists should keep about one meter between themselves and vehicle traffic on the left. But what does this mean in practice, for instance, in narrow lanes where the one-meter rule is unrealistic or when the curb lane is lined with park cars? In these and similar scenarios, every cyclist has to assess their skills against the current flow of traffic and road conditions to make the safest choice. CAN-BIKE safe cycling education helps cyclists of any skill level learn how to make these and other types of decisions in a supportive and fun group setting.
Sidewalks are for pedestrians. However, the Highway Traffic Act allows bikes with a wheel diameter up to 24 inches to be ridden on sidewalks. This law is intended for children only and is not extended to adults who ride bikes with small wheels, such as a folding bike. Sidewalk riding can be dangerous because of the unpredictability of pedestrians, dogs and their leashes, wheelchairs, strollers and window shoppers. Cyclists fare better when they ride on the road where other cyclists and drivers are more predictable. In fact, one of the most common scenarios that leads to car/bike collisions is when a cyclist rides off the sidewalk on to the road.
What do I wear?
Be comfortable. Whatever your preference – spandex or skirt – just be sure to keep any loose clothing clipped or tied back so it can’t get caught in the wheels or chain, and keep your shoelaces tucked into your shoes. Choose a helmet that fits correctly and make sure it has a CSA, Snell, ANSI, ASTM British Standard or Australian Standard sticker to prove the helmet meets legislated safety standards
Night riding & riding in the rain
Whether you’re riding along the waterfront to watch the sunset or coming home from a late meeting, always make yourself visible to other road or path users by wearing reflective clothing and turning on your bike lights.
Riding in the rain can be fun and refreshing but always assess the rainfall against your skill level and road conditions before heading out. Turn your bike lights on and wear reflective clothing, no matter what time of day, to increase your visibility to other road users. Remember, roads are slippery in the rain so slow down and give yourself more time and distance to stop or make turns. Avoid puddles; you never know how deep the hole in the road is underneath them and be extra careful when crossing train or streetcar tracks!
Locking your bike
- Always keep your bike locked and lock at least one wheel and the frame to the rack or object.
- If you don’t need a quick release seat or wheels, replace them with bolts
- Invest in the best quality lock that you can afford - a hardened steel U lock or steel chain and padlock work best, especially when used together.
- Lock your bike to a sturdy, unmoveable object.
- Register your bike at your local police station.
Choosing a route
Consult a map and choose a route based on your confidence and skill level. If you’re planning to ride to work, do a test-ride of your route on a Sunday when traffic tends to be lighter.
Start a BUG
A Bicycle User Group, or BUG, is group of a people in a workplace, a school, a community, or a neighbourhood, who come together to improve conditions for commuter cycling, or to enjoy cycling together. Each BUG grows out of its own environment and develops differently. Here are some ideas for getting active in your BUG:
- Share the benefits of cycling with colleagues, fellow-students, property manager and decision makers.
- Write and share articles on cycling related topics.
- Plan group rides and tours.
- Start a Ride Matching Program to match new cyclists with experienced cyclists.
- Make a business case for secure bicycle parking, change rooms/showers at your school or work location.
- Make a business case for paying mileage or a flat rate for work-related cycle trips.
- Organize cycling events, including Smart Commute Bike to Work Day.
- Organize or host workshops or lunch ‘n' learns on cycling related topics including safety, nutrition, tourism, repairs and tips.
- Organize a CAN-BIKE course or workshop!