TIPS FOR COMMUTING & SAFE CYCLING

Cycling is great way to get around the city – it’s cheap (think free parking and zero fuel bills), green and keeps you happy, stress free and active. Whether you are commuting to work or riding to the corner shop, knowing the basics of road safety, ensures that you stay safe and enjoy your ride even when cycling on busy roads.

abc checkRIDE READY – BIKE AND GEAR

  • Get the right bike and gear for commuting and/or carrying cargo.
  • Wear a helmet. Fit bike with lights and reflectors (required by law).
  • Keep your bike road worthy and check it over before you ride. Learn how to repair a flat, fix the chain and check brakes. Carry a repair kit with you.
  • If you have a short commute, ride in your work clothes at a relaxed pace. For longer commutes keep a spare set of clothing to change into.

TIPS ON BIKE & GEAR ABC Quick Bike Check

commuter-tips-route-planROUTE PLANNING

  • Consider distance, traffic volume, road width/condition and terrain.
  • Where possible choose quieter or traffic-free routes along cycleways.
  • Browse our route maps to find the best commuter routes near you.
  • Test new routes on the weekend when the roads are quieter.
  • It’s a good idea to carry your emergency details with you and let someone know where you’re going if you’re planning a long ride or riding alone.

ROUTE PLANNING TIPSCommuter Routes

commuter-tips-rulesSTREET CODE FOR CYCLISTS

  • Share the road and be respectful and courteous to other road users. Follow the Street Code. Always yield to pedestrians and cycle responsibly – be an ambassador for safer streets.
  • Obey the Rules of the Road. The laws that apply to motorists also apply to people on bikes. Don’t jump red lights and don’t cycle on the pavement unless it’s a designated cycle path. Stay safe and legal.

BIKE LAWFOLLOW THE STREET CODE

commuter-tips-groupRIDE WITH A FRIEND

Find friends, neighbors or co-workers who have a similar commute route and start riding together. Map your route and share it and  start or join a Bike Bus (group commute) in your area. Cycling in a group is social and fun and much safer than cycling alone. Motorists have an easier time spotting groups of cyclists and riding together reduces the risk crime.

JOIN A BIKE BUS

commuter-tips-doorKEEP CLEAR OF CAR DOORS & OBSTRUCTIONS

  • Ride at least a meter away from parked cars, to stay outside the door zone, even if it means taking a whole lane of traffic. If you do get doored, be sure to file a police report.
  • If you feel safer outside the bike lane, or it is obstructed by parked vehicles, then ride in other vehicle travel lanes. Merge when safe and signal when changing lanes.

commuter-tips-intersectionBE VISIBLE IN INTERSECTIONS

  • Many crashes occur at intersections, so be particularly careful. Make eye contact with drivers, stay out of their blind spots and use your bells and lights to alert them to your presence.
  • If need be, occupy a whole lane of traffic to avoid getting in the way of turning vehicles.
  • Avoid ‘undertaking’ vehicles at intersections as they may suddenly be turning left. It’s safer to hang back until the vehicle has moved off. 

commuter-tips-signalsRIDE DECISIVELY – SIGNAL CLEARLY

  • Ride defensively but decisively. Keep a clear space around you.
  • Be predictable. Ride in a straight line unless avoiding hazards or passing.
  • Use hand signals to let drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists know where you’re heading (eg if you are turning, slowing down or stopping).
  • Always check that drivers have seen you. Make eye contact with them so that they know you’re there, and thank them if they let you through.
  • Look behind you well before turning or changing lanes. Fit a bicycle mirror to help you monitor traffic without constantly having to look behind you.

STAY ALERT & THINK AHEAD

  • Be aware of road conditions and avoid hazards like potholes and debris.
  • Anticipate what drivers, pedestrians, and other cyclists will do next.
  • Watch out for disembarking passengers when cycling past a bus or taxi.
  • By law motorists are required to give cyclists a minimum of 1m passing distance. To make it easier for motorists to pass, keep left and ride in single file. Always allow some space between you and the curb or the gutter in case you need to swerve if a vehicle pass too closely.
  • Cross railroad tracks at right angles to prevent getting stuck.

commuter-tips-take-the-laneTAKE THE LANE WHEN APPROPRIATE

Law says you have to ride as close as “practicable” to the left edge of the road, but certain road conditions make doing this totally impracticable.

  • If the lane is too narrow for cars to pass you, or when cycling next to parked cars, it’s safer to take the lane and ride outside the door zone.
  • In heavy traffic area with lots of side streets or driveways to your left, move away from the extreme edge so that cars turning right can see easily you.
  • At traffic circles, riding in the lane makes you more visible and prevents motorists from hitting you as they exit the circle.

commuter-tips-shareRIDING ON SHARED PATHS

  • Be courteous and patient with pedestrians and other path users who may be moving more slowly than you. Always give way to pedestrians.
  • Cycle at a sensible speed. Slow down where space is limited and when approaching junctions, bends or any other ‘blind spots’ on the path.
  • Use a bell to let people know you’re approaching or passing. But be aware that not everyone will be able to see or hear you.
  • Look out for other cyclists especially children or novices, who are learning to ride – don’t frighten them by passing too closely.

commuter-tips-sunKEEPING COOL IN THE HEAT

  • Ease off your normal pace a bit and avoid cycling in the heat of the day.
  • Skip the backpack. Fit a rack and get some panniers to carry stuff.
  • Check if your workplace has showers located in the building; ask about access. If you’re not near shower facilities, baby wipes and other toiletry items can work well.
  • Wear light colors and fabrics that wick and breathe easily.

KEEPING COOL TIPS

commuter-tips-rainRIDING IN THE RAIN

  • Wear bright colors and reflective gear to be visible. Waterproof and breathable clothing with layers underneath keep comfortable and dry.
  • Fit front and rear fenders to keep you and your bike dry. Lube your chain before and/or after a wet ride to replace the lube that washed off.
  • Watch your speed as surfaces may be slippery and it may take longer to stop. Follow our tips for cornering, braking and wet weather hazards.

WET WEATHER TIPS

commuter-tips-nightRIDING AT NIGHT

  • Wear bright colors and reflective gear (vests or jackets) when riding at night or in rainy or overcast conditions.
  • Vests are a cheap solution and can be easily stored in your bag; and reflective bands for ankles and sleeves also work well.
  • Use a front white light, rear red light and reflectors when visibility is poor or when riding at night. (This is required by law).
  • Be extra alert when cycling at night because the dangers you face from both criminals and careless motorists multiply as soon as the sun sets.

BIKE SECURITY & PARKING

  • It is best to look for indoor parking or ask your employer/building owner to provide safe, covered parking.
  • For short term parking, lock your bike to an immovable object in a highly visible area, close to pedestrian traffic and streetlights.
  • Use a U-lock or heavy duty chain lock and learn how to secure your bike properly through the frame.

LOCKING & THEFT BICYCLE PARKING LOCATIONS