Cycling Safety and Bike Theft

Riding a bike is one of the easiest ways to incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine whether for transport or recreation. Cycling uses all major muscle groups among other benefits such as increased cardiovascular fitness and improved joint mobility. However, there are a number of bike riding safety tips that we should all be aware of when sharing the road with motorized vehicles.

With an increase in bikes left outdoors during warmer weather, bike thefts also become more frequent. Fortunately, there are ways to make your bike and its parts more secure!

person biking on the road

Before riding your bike

  • Every cyclist under the age of 18 is required by law to wear an approved helmet
  • For adults, wearing a helmet is not law enforced but it is strongly suggested that a helmet should be worn regardless of age
  • Make sure your bike is equipped with a working bell/horn as per the law in Ontario
  • Check your chain, tires and brakes to make sure they are in good condition
  • You are now ready to get on the road!

While riding your bike

  • Be visible by wearing bright coloured clothing and using lights at the front and back of your bike
  • Be predictable and signal your intentions with your arm
  • Stay to the right of the road at all times so that you are riding with traffic
  • Obey traffic laws as a bike is still considered a vehicle which means cyclists have the same responsibility as drivers on the road
  • Stay off of sidewalks
  • Dismount and walk your bicycle through cross walks

While riding your bike around the ion

  • Always cross tracks at a right angle
  • Look both ways before crossing and only cross at designated crossings

After riding your bike

  • Choose a good U-lock as wire and cable locks are easily cut. U-locks are more expensive but they are more secure
  • For maximum security choose a smaller U-lock made of hardened steel and a secondary cable lock to put through both wheels
  • Choose a visible area to lock your bike as it is less likely to be stolen compared to a low profile area
  • Lock your bike securely by making sure the lock runs through the bike rack, bike frame and front and back wheels
  • Take photos of your bike for easy identification in case it is stolen
  • If you have a serial number on your bike, fill in the UW Police Serial Number Reporting system to assist with identification in case of stolen property
  • Keep your bike inside overnight
  • If you are staff/faculty or a Grad student, check out the Bike Locker Program available on Campus https://uwaterloo.ca/parking/stafffaculty-parking/bike-locker-program

For a demonstration on how to properly lock your bike, view this video by UW Police Services:

Being safe on the road and securing your bike will lead to a more enjoyable and comfortable experience!

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