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Bicycling in Estevan 101

Quite a few bicyclists were noticed biking on the wrong side of the road in the community and demonstrating a lack of basic knowledge about in-town bicycling rules. Here is what everyone should know when cycling in Estevan.
Cycling bicycling stock
Following the rules and professional advice while riding on the road will allow for a safe and joyful experience.

ESTEVAN - Summer allows for many alternative ways to see and explore the community, including bicycling.

Many people were enjoying warm summer days cruising around Estevan on their bikes, while also putting in a quality workout time. However, quite a few bicyclists were noticed biking on the wrong side of the road and demonstrating a lack of basic knowledge about in-town bicycling rules.

The Mercury explored the issue and came up with a summary of all the required information one should keep in mind before hitting a road on a bicycle.

The Estevan Police Service keeps an eye on bicyclists as they are part of the traffic flow. According to the rules, while on the road, unlike pedestrians, bicyclists have to be going with the traffic, follow all signs and traffic lights just like drivers, and hand-signal their maneuvers when they need to change lanes or turn. Cyclists should keep to the right side of the road and travel single file.

According to the City of Estevan’s traffic bylaw, "every cyclist shall operate a bicycle in accordance with the applicable rules of the road as set out in the Traffic Safety Act. No person shall operate a bicycle with a wheel diameter of 40 centimetres or more on any sidewalk or boulevard except where permitted by an appropriate sign; while carrying more persons at one time than the number of which it is designed and equipped; in a reckless or negligent manner; while riding more than two abreast of another cyclist except for the purpose of passing on the left side; while carrying a load in excess of that for which the bicycle is designed and equipped.

“No person shall operate a bicycle; without having at least one hand on the handlebars; between half an hour before sunset and a half hour after sunrise, unless the bicycle is equipped with a lighted headlamp, which is visible from the front of the bicycle, and a red taillight that is visible from the rear of the bicycle. No person under the age of 16 years old shall operate a bicycle without wearing a CSA [Canadian Standards Association]-approved bicycle helmet in a proper manner.

“No person shall leave a bicycle in a reclining position on any public highway, pedestrian mall, sidewalk or public place."

When riding on the road, bicyclists follow the same rules as drivers, but unlike vehicle operators, their bodies are not as protected, so ensuring their bikes are in a good shape and following the rules becomes even more crucial for their own safety.

To fill in the further blanks in knowledge about bicycling in town, the Mercury spoke to Joe Lingelbach, the owner of Estevan's JL's Bike and Skate, a member of the Estevan Bike and Brew club and a man who is very passionate about bicycling.

"Before going on any ride, the cyclist should check their air pressure in the tires, check that their brakes are functioning and if they have gears, make sure their rear derailleur especially isn't bent or damaged. Of course, helmets should be worn as a single fall can cause a lot of harm," Lingelbach outlined.

While knowing the law is important, understanding the proper behaviour on the road might be as crucial. Talking about some "musts" bicyclists should keep in mind while on the road, Lindelbach pointed out that first of all, cyclists should understand that their safety is in their hands.

"Cyclists have to take responsibility for their own safety and always make eye contact with an oncoming vehicle to make sure they see you," Lingelbach said.

"If riding at night, you should always have reflective clothing of some sort and a light on the front and rear of your bicycle."

He also noted some things bicyclists should avoid at all times while riding.

"Please avoid texting or reading a book while riding your bike. Cyclists love to play music while they ride, make your own soundtrack and play it for yourself. If you don't like a song, there will be another coming right up. Avoid playing with the phone while moving," Lingelbach said.

"If riding on the street, try to stay close to the right-hand curb, don't weave in and out of traffic.

"When riding the lovely pathways that we have in Estevan, be respectful of the slower pedestrian moving in the same direction as yourself, ring your bell and call out that you are passing and always pass on the left. When facing a pedestrian pull to the right, slow down a little and say hello."

Responsible and careful operation should allow for many years of joyful bicycling. Bicycle maintenance is also important, and that's something JL's Bike and Skate can help customers with.

"We service all kinds and makes of bicycles. It can be challenging in these times as some parts and even bikes are still not available. A lot of my time is taken up by researching parts for other peoples' bikes; trying to locate parts is very time-consuming," Lingelbach said.

"Repairing flats, changing cables, replacing damaged derailleurs, full checkups, straightening bent wheels are all services we provide. Of course, I also sell new bikes, as well as electric and pedal-assist bicycles."

He added that the new pathway system Estevan acquired last year is a great addition not only for local walkers and joggers but for cyclists too, as it allows for a safer experience for everyone.

"I would like to close by thanking the city for the new pathway system. I believe we have people out and about who feel safer when riding a bike, walking, jogging, rollerblading, pushing a stroller or skateboarding if they are on the pathways than if they were on city streets or sidewalks," Lingelbach said.

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