Law & Order

Cycling safety is everyone’s responsibility

Cycling can be enjoyed safely when you understand the rules of the road and practice proper safety and handling techniques. Outdoor enthusiasts of all ages are enjoying one of their favourite activities. Manitoulin cyclists are using town streets, highways and area trails. It is important for cyclists and motorists alike to keep safety in mind when travelling on our roads.

Here are a few things to remember:

Motorists:

• Motorists must allow cyclists a safe space to ride on the roadway. A bicycle has the same rights and responsibilities when on the road. Remember that a cyclist may have to use more of the road if the right portion of the roadway is very rough.

• Do not honk your horn at a cyclist unless you are doing so for safety reasons. The honk may startle the person riding which could cause the driver to lose control of their bicycle.

• When passing a cyclist, ensure you pass in a safe place which will allow you to overtake the rider without forcing them off the road. It is also wise to reduce your speed as you pass by to avoid startling the person riding their bike.

• Use extra caution when travelling through residential areas or near schools. Young riders may dart out onto the street suddenly. Be aware of city trails which intersect with streets and reduce your speed. Intersections are a common location for collisions between vehicles and cyclists.

• When making a right turn, check your mirror to ensure that there are no cyclists in your blind spot or attempting to go by you on the right.

Cyclists:

• Do regular inspections of your bicycle to make sure that it is in proper working order.

• Make sure your bicycle is the correct size for you. A bicycle that is not the right size for you will be difficult to control and generally not comfortable to ride.

• Always wear a helmet

• Helmets are mandatory for all riders under 18 and are just common sense. Helmets must also be fitted and worn properly. It is the responsibility of the parents or guardians to ensure their child is properly fitted for a helmet. The Highway Traffic Act under section 104 states: “Every cyclist under the age of eighteen must wear an approved bicycle helmet. Parents or guardians shall not knowingly permit cyclists under sixteen to ride without a helmet.” Set fine is $60 plus a victim surcharge of $20, a total of $80.

“A brain injury can happen in an instant and if a child does not have a helmet chances are they will become another tragic statistic. Please ensure your child has properly fitted bicycle helmet and that they wear it,” states S/Sgt. Kevin Webb Detachment Commander Manitoulin OPP.

Cycling is one of the most enjoyable ways for families to spend time together and enjoy the outdoors. It is also a privilege and not a right. Cycling safety is the responsibility of everyone who uses the streets, roads and highways, no matter what method of transportation you are using. Do you part to keep it safe and fun.

Nine deaths in ORV incidents: keep yourself safe and live, says OPP

A nine-year-old boy and a 17-year-old youth are among nine people who have died in recent off-road vehicle (ORV) incidents investigated by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

With one death having occurred in April, seven in May and one in June of 2015, this is the highest number of off-road vehicle deaths this early in the season since 2009. This time last year, there was one ORV fatality on record (within OPP jurisdiction).

Investigations into these fatalities revealed that alcohol was involved in five of the incidents, speeding was a factor in three of them and five of the deceased were not wearing a helmet at the time of the incident. The nine-year-old who died was the driver of the ORV and in a separate incident, the 17-year-old who died was a passenger.

“This spike in fatalities serves as a harsh reminder that unsafe off-roading keeps costing riders of all ages their lives, leaving families devastated and struggling to understand why their loved ones did not stay safe while out riding,” said Chief Superintendent Chuck Cox, commander of the OPP Highway Safety Division.

With many months remaining in the off-roading season, the OPP is urging ORV enthusiasts to wear a helmet every time, regardless of how short a ride you plan on taking. Don’t include alcohol or drugs in an ORV outing and keep your speed under control so that you don’t lose control of your vehicle.