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MPI stresses bicycle safety

By Portage Daily Graphic, Portage Daily Graphic

Summer is just around the corner and cyclists are out in full force.

Manitoba Public Insurance is reminding all motorists of an increase in recreational and commuter cycling activity, and the importance of motorists and cyclists using caution, and showing mutual respect for each other on Manitoba roadways.

“Every road user, whether walking, cycling or driving, has a right to expect they will arrive at their destination safely,” said Ward Keith, MPI's vp, Business Development and Communications. “If we are to succeed in reducing fatalities and injuries on our roadways, everyone needs to take personal responsibility for how they drive, and in the case of cyclists, how they ride”.

According to MPI, on average, four cyclists are killed in motor vehicle collisions yearly in Manitoba and another 100 cyclists are injured. Through awareness and education, MPI and Bike Winnipeg are working together to reduce those numbers towards the ultimate goal of having zero fatalities and serious injuries on our roads.

This month, MPI is launching its annual cycling safety campaign with a reminder to motorists to give at least one metre of space when driving alongside or overtaking cyclists. This campaign supplements other safety tips for motorists when approaching and overtaking cyclists, as well as safety education programs for cyclists supported by Manitoba’s public insurer.

"One metre of distance can literally make the difference between a serious collision and a non-event,” said Mark Cohoe, executive director, Bike Winnipeg. “Continued education and heightened awareness about the one metre distance are positive steps in making cycling a safe experience for both cyclists and motorists.”

Important safety tips for cycling safety

For drivers:

·        When passing a cyclist, leave a distance of at least one metre to ensure a safe ride. Please leave space to breathe, even if this requires you to change lanes to pass safely.

·        Take extra caution at intersections and watch for cyclists when making right or left turns.

·        After parking your vehicle, look for cyclists before opening your door. Opening a car door into the path of a cyclist can lead to serious injuries.

·        When entering and exiting roadways and intersections, scan the sidewalks in both directions for cyclists. Remember, smaller bikes are allowed on sidewalks.

For cyclists:

·        Always follow the rules of the road, including stopping at traffic lights and stop signs.

·        Never pass stopped vehicles in the same lane or when stopped at an intersection as the driver may not see you and turn into your path.

·        Always ride on the roadway, unless your bicycle is small enough to legally ride on the sidewalk. Many cycling collisions occur when bicycles are coming off sidewalks at intersections or when crossing driveways.

·        Ride defensively, consider wearing reflective clothing, and use hand signals to alert motorists to your intentions.


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