Getting ready to bike safely

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After reading Bike safety for newcomers, it’s time to get the right bike and the proper safety gear to start biking:

Proper safety gear

Before you get out there, it important that you have the proper equipment. By law, your bike should have a white light in front and a red or amber light or reflector on the rear. A blinking LED light on the rear of your bike is an added protection, especially if you bike at night. The more visible you are to motorists, the better. Wear brightly coloured clothes and use those with reflective material if you plan on biking longer distances. Younger kids who are learning to bike may need additional protection such as knee and elbow pads.

Always make sure that your bike is in good shape and safe to ride. Check if your tires are inflated and the brakes are working (do the ABC Quick Check from the Bike Safely booklet).

For tips on getting the right size of bike, watch the video on sizing at the Manitoba.ca page: Ride Safe this Summer.

Where to get a bike:

There are many bike and sporting goods stores all over Manitoba that sell high-quality bikes. You can also opt to rent, build one or buy second-hand. When buying second-hand through Kijiji, Craigslist and similar sources, check the bike’s serial numbers. Sellers should post it on their ad. If it’s not posted, ask the seller and check it in the Canadian Police Information Centre database to make sure that it is not stolen.

  • Have you heard about the Plain Bicycle Project? If you’re interested in owning a strong and sturdy Dutch bicycle that has been well-used and well-loved, order from this site.
  • Community bike shops – These are places that offer free help to build a bike. You just need to buy the parts (they are sold at a lower cost at the shop). They also hold Bike Sale events throughout the year.
  • The City of Winnipeg holds bike auctions annually. Call 311 for more information.
  • Rent: Winnipeg Bike Rentals.

Helmet

It is Manitoba law that anyone under 18 years old must wear a properly fitted and fastened helmet. Parents or guardians can be fined if they allow their young children to ride without a helmet. While adults are not required to wear them, why would you not? According to recent statistics, approximately 60 percent of cyclists injured and almost 95 percent of cyclists killed in collisions with a vehicle were not wearing a helmet (from the Traffic Accident Report database 2011-2015, as cited from Bike Safely, MPI). Wearing a helmet is not only safer for you, it is also a way to model good behavior to your kids.

Watch this video from Can-Bike to know how a proper helmet protects you and how to choose the right one:

CAN-BIKE // Bike Helmets 101 from Manitoba Cycling Association on Vimeo.

Lock it or lose it

Bicycles do not come cheap nowadays. To prevent your bike from being stolen, be proactive:

  1. Register your bike – Register your bike with the City of Winnipeg’s Bicycle Recovery Section. This will make it easier for you to retrieve your bike if it is stolen.
    • Go to the Online Bike Registry.
    • You will need the bike’s serial number and your credit card information.
    • Upload three photos of your bike.
    • The one-time fee is $6.88 (2020, includes GST).
  2. Lock it well – It is recommended that you use a U-lock and a cable lock. Use them both whenever possible. Choose an immovable and stable object and lock the bike frame, not the wheel. Don’t choose small trees or shrubs that thieves can easily break or cut. Also avoid aluminum or wooden posts and chain link fences.
  3. Secure it – Don’t leave your bike lying around in your backyard, open garage or anywhere where it will be easy to grab. If you are out and about, use a secure bike parking facility, high-visibility racks along storefronts, or any area covered by a CCTV camera. Generally, experts advise choosing a busy area where there are lots of other bikes parked and locked.
  4. Report it – If your bike gets stolen, report it immediately to the police.

Provide a detailed description. Supply your bike’s serial number, model, color, unique markings or engravings. It will be even better if you have a photograph. The more accurate your description, the better the chances that your bike will be retrieved.
 
Article updated April 16, 2020.
 
Sources: Bike Safely, MPI; Stolen Bicycles, Winnipeg Police Service; and ‘Lock it or lose it: Winnipeg Police offer tips to cyclists’, CBC News Accessed May 28, 2019.

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