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Friday, May 23, 2014

Cyclists: Always err on the side of safety

Randy Youngman
Randy Youngman, Regional Traffic Safety Consultant

Summer is fast-approaching and the weather’s finally warming up. Pedestrians, bicycles and skateboarders literally seem to be everywhere, and they’re not always thinking about how to stay safe on our streets. As vehicle drivers, we can help avoid potential tragedies by training ourselves to look and see them before it’s too late.


When it comes to collisions with a motor vehicle, vulnerable road users like bicyclists, pedestrians and skateboarders are always at higher risk for injury or death. Unlike people travelling in a vehicle, these vulnerable road users don’t have steel and metal protecting them. This makes it even more important for vehicle drivers to try and avoid collisions with unprotected roadway users at all costs. Collisions between motor vehicles and pedestrians almost always guarantee serious, if not life-threatening injuries.

Within our region alone, 2012 saw 32 casualty collisions involving pedestrians; one of these even involved more than a single pedestrian. Vehicle collisions with pedestrians occur throughout the year and are most likely to occur in more populated areas in the afternoon. One in six pedestrians involved in a casualty collision had consumed alcohol prior to the crash, highlighting that both pedestrians and vehicle drivers have a shared responsibility for road safety.

Last year, 15 bicyclists were involved in casualty collisions with a vehicle. And although bicycle-vehicle collisions typically occur during the summer months, in 2012, May recorded the highest number of bike-car collisions. Approximately 75 per cent of these resulted because bicyclists were not properly following the rules of the road. And like anyone driving a motorized vehicle, bicyclists also have to take a certain amount responsibility for their safety and can do this by obeying all road signs and traffic control devices.

Another great way for bicyclists to stay safe is to ensure they’re wearing a properly fitted helmet with the chin strap done up. A helmet does no good if it’s not secured and left dangling. One disturbing fact about bike collisions is that in more than half of these (60 per cent), bicyclists were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
When using our roadways, everyone has a shared responsibility, so don’t drink and drive and always try and err on the side of safety.

Randy Youngman is Regional Traffic Safety Consultant and can be reached at 403-458-1890 or by email at randy.youngman@gov.ab.ca

Related story:
Wearing your helmet could help you win a bike

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous23/5/14

    I disagree that "Another great way for bicyclists to stay safe is to ensure they’re wearing a properly fitted helmet with the chin strap done up." This is an unfortunate misconception. It will protect you in a fall or crash, but it will not help you stay safe. Countries where there is a 35% ridership of bicycles have done studies that show there are not more accidents/mishaps with riders that do not wear a helmet, and I believe there are actually less. Possibly because the helmet crowd actually take more risks.

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