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Safe Cycling (Posted On: Monday, April 20, 2009)

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With the resurgence of road cycling in our area over the last few years, we are witnessing a large number of new and inexperienced riders on our roads, resulting in some very serious injuries. According to the 2009 Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit "Road Safety Report" cyclists have experienced 428 emergency room visits, 41 hospitalizations and 5 deaths on our roads between 2003 and 2007.

These stats show us the importance of rider education & safe cycling.

One of the first steps taken in rider education is the importance of buying a bicycle that fits properly. Find a bike shop that you trust and takes the time to explain why they are making the suggestions and changes to your bike. A proper bike fit allows the rider more control and stability on the bike.

Remember a bike that fits you properly also decreases the likelihood of muscle strains and long term pain (neck, shoulders, knees, etc..).  After this is accomplished and the rider has been properly fitted for a helmet, it’s time to ride! ride.  Helmets and bells are the only required equipment for safe cycling, however,  mirrors, cycling shorts, cycling gloves, & a repair kit are also good choices for safe riding.

Top 10 safe cycling tips:

• Know the laws!!! Did you know that cyclists are responsible to follow the  Highway Traffic Act?

• ALWAYS wear a properly fitted and adjusted bike helmet. It's true, they do  save lives!!!

• Be aware of surroundings - watch for road hazards such as sand, gravel,  potholes, sewer grates, etc... not day dreaming or singing along with your  IPod.  It’s best to leave the IPod behind.

• Don't ride against the traffic or on the sidewalk - most drivers turning right don't  expect to have someone riding into their turn in their blind spot.

• Wear bright and visible clothing, making sure drivers see you! Reflective gear  and lights are a must when riding at dusk or night.

• Learn the hand signals for turning and use them at all times.

• Prepare for emergencies; carry a spare tube & levers in a pouch that will also  hold your cell phone & identification.

• Ride consistently and predictably, this allows drivers to anticipate your moves.

• Making eye contact with motorists at intersections assures you that they are  aware of your presence.

• Keep your bike tuned and check it over before every ride. Look at tire  pressure as marked on the tire and check for cracks and cuts.  Make sure your  brakes are working properly.

Join Kamikaze, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, the General & Marine Hospital Foundation and the Collingwood OPP for "CYCLE SAFE"!  - A free road cycling information session featuring Sue Palmer-Komar.  Born in Collingwood, Sue is a two time Olympian and a National team member since 1988. "CYCLE SAFE" discussion topics will include: safe road cycling, riding etiquette, rules of riding in a group, equipment safety, the Highway traffic act legislation, nutrition and hydration during a ride and a motivational message from Sue. This session takes place Saturday May 1st, from 7pm-9pm at Toronto Ski Club at the base of Blue Mountain. Riders of all ages welcome!  Call Kamikaze Bikes if you have any questions at 705.446.1234. Cycling is fun - let's keep it safe!!!

Kamikaze is a locally run, year round independent bike shop found at 470 First St. in Collingwood. We carry Trek, Gary Fisher, Kona, Opus, Santa Cruz, & Foes. Owner Kris Baumgarten is trained in specialty bike fitting and has been in the industry for 15 years. Kris and his staff strive to make every customers experience a positive one and keep them coming back. For all of your cycling needs, or to book a custom bike fit with Kris call 705.446.1234.



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