As summer approaches, cyclists are once again taking to the streets in bigger numbers.
“We’re letting the community know that officers will be out making sure cyclists are following the rules of the road, wearing helmets, and equipped with the proper lights at night,” advises Sgt. Peter DeVries, of the North Vancouver RCMP.
Did you know?
The BC Motor Vehicle Act and regulations state operators of cycles have the same rights and duties as a driver of a motor vehicle.
This includes things such as stopping at stop signs, obeying traffic lights, stopping at crosswalks, and staying on the right hand portion of the road way.
Can you get a red light ticket as a cyclist?
You bet, and the fine is the same as it is for drivers: $167.
Failing to stop at stop signs, failing to yield to pedestrians, and disobeying traffic control devices are all ticket-able offences whether you’re behind the wheel or astride the saddle.
Wearing an approved helmet is also mandatory, unless you have an exemption.
Police advise that wearing a helmet:
Reduces the risk of serious head injury by 60 per cent;
Reduces the risk of traumatic brain injury by 53 per cent;
Reduces the risk of fatality or serious injury by 34 per cent;
Reduces the risk of facial injury by 23 per cent.
“There’s no question that helmets save lives,” says DeVries.
A proper fitting helmet should be: snug, it does not slide from side-to-side or front-to-back; level, it should sit on top of the head, covering the top of the forehead and not tilt in any direction; and stable, a chinstrap keeps the helmet from rocking.
Chinstraps should be replaced if any part of the buckle breaks.
Helmet fines include:
Fail to wear helmet: $29 — issued to riders 16 years and older;
Permit cycling without helmet: $29 — issued to parent or guardian of rider 15 years and under;
If you plan to hit the road after dark, DeVries says to make sure to know the rules about lights and reflectors.
Cyclists riding at night must have the following on their bikes:
White headlight (solid or flashing) at front;
Red light (solid or flashing) or red reflector at rear;
The fine for riding without proper lights or a reflector is $109.
While these are the minimum requirements for riding at night, DeVries advises to increase safety, follow these additional guidelines:
Light yourself up — the more lights the better;
The more reflectors the better;
Wear high-visibility colours;
No headphones — ears are more than ever ever when it’s dark.
“Patrol and traffic officers will be out in force both day and night, looking to enforce bicycle helmet laws and ensure cyclists are visible, following the rules, and staying safe,” added DeVries.