Written by Megan Heroux
We have been so fortunate in Alberta this spring- I am so grateful for the beautiful weather we have been having which has enabled folks to get outside and get active. I am beginning to see more and more cyclists on the road, and as an enthusiast for active transportation, this makes me so happy! Now is a great time to remind cyclists to take the time to ensure you are going to be safe on the road this summer!
First, I encourage you to pull out your helmet. Has it expired? Have you had it for more than five years? Has it been in a crash? If your answer was yes to any of those questions, it’s time to buy yourself a new helmet! If you find yourself lost in the helmet aisle searching for the best helmet, besides the general fit and feel of the helmet, you should carefully consider:
- Is the helmet safety approved for cycling?
- Do you need a multisport helmet or are you planning to use it just for cycling?
Whether you’re pulling out your old helmet or buying a new one, ensuring that it fits correctly is crucial. We teach the 2-V-1 method.
- 2- the helmet should sit about 1-2 fingers above your eyebrows
- V- the straps should be adjusted to form a V under your ears
- 1- the chinstrap should be snug enough that only 1 finger fits between the strap and your chin
Now that you’ve checked your helmet and ensured your bike is well maintained, you’re ready to hit the road! It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the road rules for bicycling in your community. As an avid cyclist myself, I know the feeling of being uneasy around heavy traffic. Re-familiarize yourself with the hand signals and practice them in areas where the traffic is light or on designated bike pathways. Drivers have a responsibility to review these hand signals as well. This will help to ensure safety for all road users.
Planning ahead for a safe ride is key! This spring, take the time to make sure your helmet and your bike are in good order and review the rules of the road. Not only is active transportation fun, but it is good for the environment, your mental wellbeing and focus, and, of course, your physical health.
Megan Heroux is a health promotion facilitator at Lethbridge Community Health Services.