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Friday, 4 May 2012

Bike Safety and Hand Signals

One of the most important things everyone needs to be aware of while riding their bikes, whether it's in the city or on a country road, is to be safe.

There are a lot of people that ride their bikes that can be a real danger, not just to themselves, but others when they don't use the simple signals and rules.

Here are a few tips to keep safe:

First rule of bike safety is wear a helmet. Even if you feel like a dork, you must wear one that fits snug with little room for movement in any direction. It could safe your life.

You also must ensure you can be seen. Wear bright colours and reflective gear wear possible, especially when it's raining (which it does a lot here!) and don't forget your lights. It's also a good idea to turn them on when it rains heavy.

Many drivers in Canada are really great when it comes to being aware of cyclists, however always assume they haven't seen you. Even if it is your right of way, stop or slow - remember a car will always cause you more damage than you would a car!

A bell. Bells are a great way to warn other cyclists you are going around them, make pedestrians crossing the road or cycle path that you are there. It's also more polite than shouting "out the way".

Watch out for parked cars.
I have had a few close calls where people have opened the door without looking into a cycle lane and I have nearly gone over the door. Always give them a wide birth and ring your bell!

Use your hand signals:

Left Turn - One of the most basic bike safety hand signals. Extend your left arm out to your side until it's parallel with the ground.

Right Turn - There are a few options, in the UK I would use my right arm, but here the roads are bigger and a lot more traffic, so I think it's safer to extend your left hand out to your side until it's parallel with the ground, bending your elbow to create a 90-degree angle with your left hand pointing vertically. You then get to keep your right hand on the break.

These are really basic, but it's amazing how many people don't use them. You can read more about hand signals here.

I found this awesome video on bike safety and hand signals on Twitter by a local performer Will Stroet. It's also filmed right here in Vancouver in Stanley Park - a great place to cycle.

OK, OK it's aimed at kids, but it still has some pretty good basic messages (and I am a big kid at heart who likes to boogie).

Cycle safe!

We will be cycling the Pacific Coast Highway from Vancouver to Tijuana over six weeks starting in August 2012 to raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. Please show your support by sponsoring us here, leaving a comment and sharing our blog.


  1. I highly recommend good gloves too, long rides they stop potential damage to your hands, and if you come off unfortunately, you'll be glad to have them for sure!

    1. Thanks yes we have gloves!! So necessary. I started on a ride this weekend and forgot to put them on and I really noticed the difference - although I already have tan lines at the wrist...

      On another note - what shorts brand did you wear?