Bike safety for newcomers

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Summer is here! It’s the best time to get on your bike and enjoy the weather. Biking is one of the best ways to see the sights and get some exercise as well. It’s also a wonderful activity that you can share with your family.

To have a great time out there, here are some safety rules you should know and follow:

Cycling rules newcomers should know

Did you know that in Manitoba, it’s illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk? Unless you’re on a kid’s bike or a sign tells you otherwise, the sidewalk is mainly for pedestrians. It’s actually safer to bike on the road compared to the sidewalk. There are rules on the road; there are none on the sidewalk. Watch this video from the Manitoba Cycling Association to know how to navigate the road safely:

CAN-BIKE // Traffic Skills 101 from Manitoba Cycling Association on Vimeo.

Important tips to remember:

  1. Follow traffic rules as if you are riding any vehicle.
  2. Bike in a straight line and never go in the opposite direction as traffic.
  3. Proper visibility and positioning are the first steps to safety.
  4. Always shoulder check anytime you want to change lanes.
  5. Know the proper hand signals.

Download Bike Safely from Manitoba Public Insurance to have a handy guide for proper safety gear, rules for sharing the road and common traffic situations.

More bike safety tips, including what to look for when shopping for a bike, can be found at the Manitoba Health page: Ride Safe this Summer

And one more thing . . .A "no" sign of a lady about to bike into a pedestrian crosswalk
Never cross the pedestrian lane on your bike. If you need to use the pedestrian crosswalk, the proper way is to get off your bike so that you will be treated like a pedestrian. Stop, get off your bike, check the traffic lights, push the button to activate the warning light, and step off the curb only when traffic stops. When it’s your turn to cross, walk with your bike on your side. Get on the bike only when you have safely reached the other side of the street.

Bike safety for newcomers poster

Biking with young kids

Safety is of paramount importance when riding with your kids. If you are biking with your toddler, the safest option is a bicycle trailer since it is stable and has protection against rain. The trailer should be equipped with a flag so that road users can see it. Older kids who have their own bikes can ride on the road with you. Make sure that you give them instructions before going on the road. Ride in a single file. If you’re riding with the entire family, keep kids in the middle of your group so that they’ll have someone to follow for the right direction (preferably an adult) and someone who is behind them (another adult) to warn them of possible hazards. Make sure that everyone has proper helmets and gear (read Getting ready to bike safely for tips on getting the right bike, helmet and other safety gear).

Watch this video from REI more tips on riding with kids:

Tips for teaching your kids how to ride:

 
Sources: Bike Safely, MPI; Ride Safe this Summer, Manitoba Health page; Bike Safety, CAA; and Manitoba Cycling Association videos on Vimeo. Accessed May 22, 2019.

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Community Resources

The I cycle safely brochure is a handy booklet on bike safety for your kids.

For more tips on cycling in Winnipeg, go to the Bike Winnipeg site.

Get the latest Winnipeg Cycling Map to plan your bicycle trip. You can also pick up a printed copy at local libraries, bike shops and tourist centres.

Explore beautiful Manitoba on a bike: Here are 4 family-friendly biking trails in Manitoba and Top 5 bike paths in Winnipeg.

Download the Newcomers Guide to Cycling as a reminder.

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