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Remember the rules of bicycle safety

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Cyclists cross the Assiniboine River in Assiniboine Park.

RAEGAN HEDLEY Enlarge Image

Cyclists cross the Assiniboine River in Assiniboine Park. Photo Store

Winnipeggers have finally had a chance to dust off their bicycles after a long winter in the garage, to fill the tires with air and to feel the wind in their hair.

Cycling is hugely popular in Winnipeg’s warmer months (and increasingly all year round), both as a mode of transportation for commuting and also as a leisure activity.

With many new cyclists on the roads, it’s important to revisit some important rules of the road when it comes to safely sharing the streets with drivers.

Here are some tips that bikers and drivers alike can benefit from — a "crash course" on road etiquette, if you will:

• Bike helmet legislation requires cyclists under the age of 18 to wear suitable helmets while cycling.
• Make yourself visible by wearing bright colours during the day and reflective clothing or a light when it gets dark.
• The City of Winnipeg has a Winnipeg Cycling Map to show low-traffic routes and off-road paved trails all over the city, so you can plan your route accordingly. In St. James, they suggest taking Bruce Avenue, Whytewold Street, Linwood Street, and Overdale Street for low-traffic thoroughfares.
• Although the Government of Manitoba says that bikes should always travel in the lane closest to the right side of the road, don’t weave between parked cars; it’s much safer to ride in a predictable straight line.
• When stopping and turning in an intersection, establish yourself in the middle of the lane so you are easily visible.
• Remember: Biking is like driving, so you still have to shoulder check and signal. To learn how to hand signal, you can check out the MPI Bike Safety brochure, available online at mpi.mb.ca

Raegan Hedley is a community correspondent for St. James.

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