Focus on safety during Bike to Work Week

Bike to Work Week celebrates cycling and encourages people to start new commuting habits. A cycling instructor shares advice for keeping safe on the roads. 

Photo of Lisa Corriveau wearing bike helmet, in front of rows of bikes at her kids' school

Lisa in front of her kids’ school
Photo credit: Lisa Corriveau

People around B.C. are gearing up for Bike to Work Week (May 27 to June 2). Riders sign up, form teams with coworkers, and visit “Celebration Stations” for free snacks, basic bike maintenance, and prizes.

Participation in this annual event keeps increasing, according to the GoByBike BC Society. Last year’s spring cycling event — the full name of which is now Bike to Work & School Week — included more than 60 communities and 50,374 participants throughout the province. Considering our record-high gas prices, maybe we’ll see even more participants this year.

But I really hope people take some time to think about safety before they wheel out onto the roads. To get some good safety advice, I contacted Lisa Corriveau, a cycling instructor with HUB Cycling, a charitable non-profit organization in Vancouver. She’s been commuting by bike for more than 20 years.

Safety on two wheels

Lisa’s top piece of advice, especially for new cyclists, is to know the rules of the road. She recommends reading Bike Sense, the popular manual for cycling safely in B.C., and/or signing up for a class on cycling safely on roads.

“A lot of people learned to drive a while ago and they haven’t really thought about the laws from the perspective of cyclists,” says Lisa. “Cyclists are still obligated to follow the laws of the Motor Vehicle Act, just like drivers are — but there are certain things cyclists do for safety that drivers don’t have to think about.”

For example, cyclists have to watch out for holes in the road surface that could cause them to lose control of the bicycle, and for motorists opening a vehicle’s door without checking for oncoming cyclists.

New cyclists can start gradually

Lisa says you don’t need to be in great shape to start cycling. Nor do you need any special clothing. She says: “You don’t have to buy a lot of stuff to start. Cycling doesn’t have to be a giant, insurmountable thing.”

It’s easy to sign up for this year’s event and log your bike trips. Interestingly, when you log the kilometres you cycled, your dashboard will also show estimates of calories burned and kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions saved.

Good luck and safe travels to all!

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