How do we incorporate active transportation into our daily lives? asked Dr. Pousette. That is what Bike to Work Week is trying to encourage. “We, as adults, need to think about it, and choose to make it a part of our lives. Think about where you can walk or use a bicycle for some part of your commute. For children, find ways to encourage them to safely bike and walk to school.”
The benefits of active transportation are numerous, according to Dr. Pousette. Apart from the health benefits such as reducing the risk of obesity, diabetes, and improving the function of our heart and lungs, there are benefits to communities as well, including reduced road congestion, and regular commuters find that they save a lot of money in gas when they ride their bikes to work.
The key to success of Bike to Work Week, and cycling in general this summer, is to make sure you are cycling safely, according to Northern Health’s injury prevention coordinator, Shellie O’Brien.
“When done safely, cycling is a great way to get active. Following safe cycling practices such as wearing a helmet and having a properly adjusted bike, means you and your kids can be safe on the road.”
Knowing that cycling is the leading cause of sports-related injury, Northern Health encourages community members to be aware of the importance of safe cycling.
Protect your head by wearing a helmet. Maintain your bike; make sure it is adjusted to the size of the rider, the tires are inflated and the brakes work. Know the rules of the road, use appropriate hand signals and obey all traffic signs. Always ride on the right side of the road, in the same direction as traffic flow.
Now that the snow is gone and cyclists are out on the roads, motorists need to be aware that they are sharing the roads at this time of year. Keep your eyes open, do the shoulder checks and don’t assume there’s nobody next to you just because there’s no car there, said O’Brien. “Motorists need to remember they are a lot bigger than cyclists, so if you hit them, they’re not going to do well.”