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MPI, police urge cyclists to ride defensively

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Under no circumstance should a bike rider ever pass motor vehicles on the right or position themselves to the right of vehicles at an intersection, says Dave Elmore.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Under no circumstance should a bike rider ever pass motor vehicles on the right or position themselves to the right of vehicles at an intersection, says Dave Elmore. Photo Store

Bicycles and vehicles are sharing the roads at this time of year so Manitoba Public Insurance wants to remind everyone that a little care and concern from both goes a long way.

MPI spokeswoman MaryAnn Kempe said cyclists can be proactive by understanding the dangers of vehicle blind spots and how they can avoid a collision.

"Turning and side-swipe collisions are two of the most common collisions involving cyclists, according to claims data," Kempe, the vice-president of business development, communications and chief product officer for MPI, said Thursday in a press release.

"Maintaining visibility is vital to preventing these types of collisions – especially when it comes to large vehicles. If cyclists and motorists can see each other, then these types of collisions could be avoided. From a cyclist’s perspective, if you cannot see the driver from where you are on the road, then you also need to assume that they cannot see you."

In the statement, Sgt. Rob Riffel of the Winnipeg Police Service encouraged cyclists to ride defensively and recognize potentially dangerous situations.

"Motorists and cyclists are both entitled to be on the roadways. There should be a mutual respect for both groups," Riffel stated.

Claims data released by MPI showed three Manitobans are killed and 250 others are injured each year in bicycle collisions. There was also an average of 269 bicycle-motor vehicle collisions from 2007-2011, with the majority (98.4 per cent) occurring in urban centres.

In Winnipeg, a cyclist was killed earlier this week on his way to a Bomber game Monday night.

Dave Elmore, CAN-Bike master instructor and former director of safety and education for Bike Winnipeg, said a defensive strategy for cyclists when approaching an intersection is to always shoulder-check and signal before moving into the centre of the lane.

"This makes you more visible to both the vehicle in front and behind you," Elmore said. "It also provides you with the needed space to start up again without tons of steel directly beside you. With larger vehicles you need to stay far enough back to remain in the field of vision of the driver’s mirrors. This can mean positioning yourself well back and in some cases slightly further to the left of the centre of the lane so that you can be seen."

Under no circumstance should a bike rider ever pass motor vehicles on the right or position themselves to the right of vehicles at an intersection, Elmore said.

"In this position you put yourself at risk of the driver not knowing that you are there and turning right into you as you try to proceed straight through the intersection. All passing should be done on the left."

About one in 10 cycling collisions took place when the vehicle, or cyclist, was making a left turn across an intersection.

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