10 Tips for Biking Safely
Biking is a fun and healthy family activity, and a great way to get from A to B. But don’t forget about some basic safety tips.
1 – Wear a well-fitting helmet. Everyone should wear a helmet, even adults and toddlers in bike trailers. The helmet should be snug and cover the forehead, two fingers should fit between the chin strap and chin. By law, all cyclists under 18 need to wear a helmet. Four provinces in Canada have laws that all cyclists must wear a helmet.
2 – Know your hand signals. Let the cars and people around you know what you’re going to do. You can find hand signals here.
3 – Have a bell and use it. Again, let cyclists and pedestrians around you know what you’re going to do, especially when you are coming up behind them to pass.
4 – Know what’s around you. Be aware of possible hazards around you, including other vehicles, road or path conditions, pedestrians, pets, and even parked cars.
5 – Be cautious coming down hills or going around blind corners. Remember that the uphill cyclist has the right of way.
6 – Walk your bike on crosswalks. Crosswalks are for pedestrians, so become a pedestrian by walking your bike. If you would like to ride through the intersection, remember to remain a vehicle and cross the intersection on the roadway rather than in the crosswalk.
7 – Only ride on bike paths or the street and give way to pedestrians. When you are riding your bike you are a vehicle (ie. car). Sidewalks, like crosswalks, are for pedestrians.
8 – Obey the rules of the road. Again, when you are riding your bike, you are a vehicle. Stop at stop signs and red lights, stay in your lane, pass on the left, ride single file, go with, not against, the flow of traffic and give pedestrians the right of way.
9 – Wear bright colours so you can be seen. Cars, other cyclists, and pedestrians can’t see you if it’s getting dark and you’re wearing all black.
10 – Have a reflector or light if you plan on biking during dusk or dark. You’re a lot smaller than a car and drivers have a lot less visibility. Be seen.
CAA has a great Bike Safety website with tips for cyclists and drivers to share the road, a quiz and even a cyclist road test. If you ride on the road a lot, check it out.
Read our blog post about 6 Great Things About Biking here.
The City of Calgary has declared June to be Bike Month. There are events throughout June all over the city.
Check out the City of Calgary’s website for events and a fun checklist of things to with your bike.
There’s even an iphone with maps of the City of Calgary’s Pathways & Bikeways! (I’ve downloaded it and it’s great!)
6 Great Things About Biking
1 — You can cycle alone or with a group. My husband and I love biking together on the paths along the Bow River, the trails in Fish Creek Park, or on trails in Canmore and Banff.
2 – It’s free! Yes, you need a bike – but the one-time cost opens up an infinite number of days of free activities.
3 – Anyone can go on a bike ride! Babies can ride in seats or trailers, toddlers can ride tricycles or bicycles with training wheels, and kids and youth can get their very own bikes in whatever colour they choose. I grew up going on family bike rides along the trails in Red Deer – a caravan of six bicycles in a row, Dad leading and Mom being a watchful rearguard.
4 – Biking is easy on the joints. My brother has had multiple knee surgeries and running is just too painful now, but biking he can do with ease.
5 – You get to be outside and see the scenery. One of the best parts of biking is discovering new paths, new neighbourhoods, and new areas of nature. You can enjoy warm weather and cooler weather alike, all you need is a light jacket and the exercise of pedaling to keep you warm.
6 – You can go fast or slow. Some folks enjoy the speed and the breeze, others prefer meandering along quiet paths or streets. I love seeing how fast I can get going, then tackling a big hill, and then I cool down with a slow meandering pedal through a neighbourhood and enjoy the scenery of nature and the always interesting diversity among the facades of older homes.
Before you head out on your family bike ride, check out our 10 Tips for Biking Safely blog post.
You don’t have to be die-hard to enjoy running outside in Calgary during the winter months. There are steps you can easily take to make running outside in colder weather not only endurable, but pleasurable and fun!
Here are links to a number of articles available online that provide great ideas and tips on cold weather running:
For many people, a day at work means a day sitting at a desk. Sitting for long periods of time can cause bad posture, discomfort, numbness. Holding the body upright also increases tension and sore muscles and joints.
Find a Good Chair
A good chair can do wonders. Your shoulders should not be slouched, your back should be straight and the top of your computer screen should be level with your eyes. If you cannot work without looking up or down, then you need to adjust the height of your screen. Feet should be flat on the floor.
Every so often, make sure you stretch your arms, legs, neck and torso while sitting. This will help prevent you from feeling stiff.
This article by Work Awesome has some great stretching and exercises to do while sitting.
Stand up Take a Walk
Continuous blood circulation in your body will keep it from discomfort or from getting too strained. If you can, take longer breaks such as a short walk outside and get some fresh air. Don’t forget to use the stairs.
Give your Eyes a Break.
Looking at a computer screen all day can also strain your eyes. Give your eyes a break by looking around the room every so often. If you’re lucky enough to work near a window, even better! This can help lower the chance of eye irritation and headaches. Another technique is to rub your hands together, then place your cupped hands over your eyes.
Convert to a Standing Desk
If your work allows it, a standing desk could help keep your body active. This article by Smarterware explains the benefits of a standing desk.
Other tips to keep your body moving throughout the day:
- Park farther away.
- Stand up and walk to the file cabinet instead of rolling your chair.
- Don’t email but rather walk over and talk to a coworker.
- Take the scenic route to the bathroom.
- During lunch, go outside and take a long walk.
In an article by the National Wildlife Federation on TheDailyGreen.com, we learn ideas for inspiring kids to move away from the electronics keeping them indoors to the great outdoors for some fresh air and fun:
“Kids today spend 55 hours a week indoors using electronics, and less and less time outdoors. But how do you get your kid to experience the wonders of nature, develop creativity and learn to appreciate the virtues of quiet?”
Now that we have “sprung forward” and the weather is getting nicer, many of us like to take our workouts to the great outdoors.
Outdoor exercise has many great benefits: it adds variety and interest to your workout, it feels good to be in the sunshine, you just have to step out your door and begin – no travel time, and the changing terrain can add more of a challenge to your routine.
Here are also some precautions that will keep your workout safe:
- If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you can check the weather channel for pollens in the air and exercise at a time when the pollen count is low.
- Ensure you dress in layers – the weather in spring is very changeable – it’s easier to take layers off if you become too warm than it is to have too little clothing if you get cold.
- Watch out for that winter gravel – many a cyclist and runner has been injured by a fall due to slipping on gravel – take extra care until the street sweepers have done their job.
- The UV index is also available on the weather channel – it’s early in the year right now, but is still possible to sunburn if you’re out too long unprotected. Try to exercise when the UV index is low; if this isn’t possible, make sure you wear a hat, sunglasses and, of course, slather on that SPF 30 or higher!
Stay healthy and accident-free and enjoy your outdoor workout!
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