Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bicycle safety on the road is a two-way street

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Bicycles and vehicles share the road, so Manitoba Public Insurance wants to remind everyone 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.

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"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 and communications and chief product officer for MPI, said 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 show 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 reported from 2007-2011, with the majority (98.4 per cent) occurring in urban centres.

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.

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

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 13, 2014 A5

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