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Cycling Safety

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Safe Cycling in the Town of Essex

Bicycling is a great way to get around the Town of Essex! Our community

 features both road and trail routes that are suitable for all ages and abilities. We encourage all of our residents and visitors to gear up and go, but safety should be your #1 concern!

Here are a few tips for safe cycling in the Town of Essex.

For adults:

  1. Cyclists must obey all traffic laws. Under Ontario's Highway Traffic Act, a bicycle is a vehicle, just like a car or truck. Cyclists also have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles drivers.
  2. Ride to the right. Cyclists must stay as close to the right edge of the road whenever possible, especially if you're slower than other traffic.
  3. Wear a helmet. Helmets are not compulsory for adults over 18, but a helmet can greatly reduce the risk of permanent injury or death if you fall or collide. Don’t forget to make sure your helmet is fitted properly!
  4. Do a safety check before you gear up. Just like with a car, it’s a good idea to check out your bicycle before you head out.
  5. Use your signals. Help other riders and motor vehicle drivers by showing where you plan to go. Use proper hand signs to signal when you’re turning or braking.
  6. Group rides. Travel in single file on two lane roads or when traffic is heavy on multi-lane roads. Keep some distance between riders to ensure all are able to stop in time.
  7. Ride to conditions. Just like in a car, bicycles won’t perform as well in wet and slippery conditions. Keep that in mind when braking or preparing for a turn.
  8. Eyes on the road. Keep your cellphone away until you stop, distracted riding can kill.
  9. The right equipment. All cyclists are required to have the following: lights and reflectors (white in the front, red in the back), bell or horn, reflective tape (front and back).

For more information, visit the Province of Ontario's Guide to Safe Cycling.

For kids:

  1. Protect your head, it’s the law. By law, every cyclist under age 18 must wear an approved helmet. For riders under 16 years old, a parent or guardian must make sure their child wears a helmet.
  2. Practice, practice, practice. Make sure you have enough confidence before heading out on local roadways. Get comfortable with how your bike handles on multi-use trails before dealing with motor vehicles.
  3. Ride together. Ride with your parents/guardians or your friends before venturing out on your own. Make sure you let someone know where you’re going if you plan to ride alone.
  4. Check your surroundings. It’s important to know what’s around you. Checking over your shoulder regularly is an important bike safety routine.
  5. Use your signals. Help other riders and motor vehicle drivers by showing where you plan to go. Use proper hand signs to signal when you’re turning or braking.

For more information, visit the Province of Ontario's Youth Cycling Guide.