May 27, 2014 - 11:35 AM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - This week is Bike to Work Week, a celebration that kicks off a season of more cyclists on the roads, and both cyclists and motorists are being reminded to do their part to help keep everyone safe.
ICBC notes an average of nearly 1,000 cyclists are injured during the warmer months of May to October in B.C., over 100 of those in the Southern Interior. It is recommended cyclists start out the season on the right foot by getting a tune up. Regular maintenance and safety checks are also encouraged.
Be aware of where the bike lanes and paths are in your community and use those whenever possible. Choose routes with less traffic if you are fairly new to cycling or are not very confident sharing the road with motorists. Remember it is illegal to cycle on most sidewalks and crosswalks. A helmet is mandatory in B.C. for cyclists and reflective gear and lights are recommended.
Drivers should try to make eye contact with cyclists whenever possible, always shoulder check before turning right to watch for oncoming cyclists and never underestimate the speed a cyclist is travelling. Before opening a vehicle door always check for cyclists as well and don’t ever honk at a cyclist unless you are giving them a necessary warning—it could startle them and cause them to fall.
Many communities in B.C. are taking part in Bike to Work Week and while some are simply using the event as a commuter challenge others are offering celebration stations, events and safety information for cyclists. In the Kelowna and Central Okanagan region more than 1,260 cyclists have registered while the Vernon and North Okanagan region has just under 160. Penticton and Kamloops are both hosting celebration station events throughout the week. In the southern community nearly 300 cyclists registered this year while Kamloops has more than 650 registered online.
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