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Cycling in Pemberton: Bicycle Helmets & Safety

Photo by Dave Steers

Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Bike Helmets: Mandatory in British Columbia

Cycling Helmet SafetyCycling safety is important - Here's what you need to know:

British Columbia has some of the strictest bicycle helmet laws in the country, enacted in 1996. Nearly everyone needs to wear a helmet when riding a bike. You can get an exemption for religious or medical grounds, but otherwise, if you are riding a chain-driven bicycle, wear a helmet.

It's really that simple, and according to the BC Medical Journal, "Helmets are known to reduce the chance of serious head injury by 70% or more." According to helmets.org, you can expect get crash on your bike within 4,500 miles of cycling, so not to be too much of a fatalist, it's not so much if you are going to crash, more like when - and you are much better off with a helmet on at that point.

The small cost and inconvenience of helmet wearing is worth it: Every dollar spent on helmets, $30 in indirect medical costs is saved. Speaking of cost, the fine for not wearing a helmet in BC is $25 plus $4 "victim of injury surcharge". That is a small amount to pay, so really, it isn't about the threat of a fine. The deeper community based reason we should wear helmets this cycling season is to keep our families and communities safe and healthy.

Cyclists Have Same Rights as Drivers of Motor Vehicles

It's important to know this...and with rights come responsibilities. When you are out on the road, make sure that you are aware of what is going on around you. In summer, farmers are at their busiest. They can be working 14 to 16 hour days, straight; hard work outdoors in the heat. When you see a farmer crossing the highway on her tractor, be aware and be respectful. 

When you are on the road, ride single file, and ride in a safe, predictable way. You are sharing a road with cars and trucks, and you need to remember that they will expect you to ride in a predictable way, just as they do. So no weaving, no sudden stops.

Ride on the road, and remember that you simply should stay to the right of traffic. You do not need to be to the very side of the road, where riding a bike can be unsafe. You are allowed to share the road with other vehicles, and absolutely do not need to be on the shoulder or on an unpaved section of the road. You are allowed to ride to the left of the white line. 

Tips To Help You Enjoy the Season

  1. Always check your bike and keep it in good condition.
  2. Start slow and work up to more endurance.
  3. Bring snacks and lots of water with you when you ride.
  4. Stop and take a rest if you need to. Stay alert when you ride.
  5. Be visible & wear comfortable clothing meant for cycling.
  6. Lock your bike when you can't see it.
  7. If you are going for a long ride, plan to stay in a bike-friendly accommodation.
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