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Fix It Up

Make sure your bicycle is adjusted properly; your bicycle should be correctly adjusted to fit you.

Before using your bike, check to make sure that all parts are secured and working.

Examine your wheels. Check the tire pressure and inflate to recommended maximum pressure. Look for damage and tread wear. Keep spokes tight; replace broken ones promptly.

Examine the brake pads, cables and housings. Ensure that all brake pads open and close together and operate smoothly.

Check the chain for damaged links and snug fit; keep it clean and lubricated. Check for bearing play in crank and headset.

Many bicycles are equipped with quick-release axles rather than the traditional thread and nut type of wheel axle. Make sure any quick-release devices are tightened and wheels secured to the frame.

Check all bicycle components and ensure all are functioning properly by taking a slow ride in an area free of traffic, such as a parking lot. Bicycles should also be lightly bounced on the ground while you listen for anything that may be loose.

For safety and efficiency, outfit your bike with bells, rear-view mirrors, fender (for rainy rides), and racks, baskets or bike bags. In Toronto it is a $90 fine to ride a bike not equipped with a bell.

General

Stunting or clowning on bicycles can result in serious injury. Never give anyone a ride on your handlebars. Never ride “double” (two to a bike, except in approved baby seats).

Do not use the bike as a toy to perform tricky manoeuvres such as jumps or “wheelies”.

Do not force a child to ride without training wheels. Wait until the child is clearly ready to learn how to ride a bike without training wheels.

It is not recommended for children under the age of 1 to ride as passengers on bikes. All passengers on bikes are required to wear helmets.

Never wear headphones while riding as they impair your ability to hear traffic.

Keep both hands on the handle bars, be sure that books and other loose items are secured to the bike or are carried in a back pack. If a carrier is added, make sure the rear reflector remains visible.

Watch for chasing Dogs. Ignore them, or try a firm, loud “No!”. If the dog doesn’t stop, dismount with your bike between you and the dog. Dogs are attracted by the spinning of wheels and feet.

Pedestrians (people on foot) have the right-of-way in crosswalks and even on sidewalks!

Motorists

Be alert. Watch for other users and sudden behaviour changes. Pay attention especially at intersections.

Be predictable. Signal your turns well before an intersection. The law requires use of turn signals in advance of intersections, and cyclists depend on turn signals to judge where to be.

Be patient. Cyclists have a right to travel on every road except limited access freeways. Passing bicyclists just before a stop light or sign creates an atmosphere of unnecessary hostility.

Do not honk unless necessary. Cyclists can hear and see motor vehicles; honking simply jars their nerves. Give room. Cyclists have to react to hazards that a motorist may not see (e.g., glass, storm grates, dogs, car doors). Follow and pass at a safe distance.

Always look in your left side view mirror prior to opening your parked car door. Checking for bicyclists will help prevent an accident.