It’s early into the summer and it has already become a memorable one for many Ottawa residents. But for some, it’s for all the wrong reasons. Ottawa’s roadways have been the tragic scene of serious and fatal collisions over the past few weeks – and we need to pay attention.
While summer means relaxing and taking a break, road safety awareness and behaviours can never take a holiday. Road safety is a shared responsibility for all road users. Everyone needs to practice safety and respect for others, whether you are a motorist, a cyclist, or a pedestrian.
- Obey all posted speed limits – roads are designed for the posted limit, not for excessive speeds.
- Be extra vigilant in construction zones and near play areas, like parks and schools.
- Reduce speeds in rainy weather for better control and stopping time.
- Do not tailgate; leave distance between you and other vehicles, especially cyclists.
- Obey all stop and yield signs, allowing pedestrians adequate space to cross comfortably.
- Don’t run red lights.
- When parking on the street, check your mirror and over your shoulder for any approaching cyclists – including right before getting out of your car.
- When passing a cyclist, maintain a minimum distance of one metre between them and your vehicle, where practical to do so.
- Keep your eyes on the road – don’t get distracted by cell phones, e-maps and other devices.
- Wear high visibility clothing and always use your headlight.
- Be conscious of your speed and stay in control; speeding makes you less predictable and more vulnerable.
- Always wear an approved motorcycle helmet and breathable protective gear with adequate coverage when riding.
- Be hyper vigilant at intersections.
Cyclists and E-Bike Riders
- Wear high visibility clothing and always keep reflectors on your bike,
- Signal to other road users when you are about to turn or stop.
- Wait for the green light at traffic signals and use the three yellow dots at intersection stop lines to ensure detection.
- Don’t ride on sidewalks and be courteous to pedestrians on pathways.
- Modifications to e-bikes are not permitted, such as removing the pedals or adapting the power source.
- Always wear a helmet, it can be the difference between life or death.
- Stay on the road, bike lane or segregated cycling facility. Riding on sidewalks is not permitted.
- Scooters may not be used on roads where the speed limit is greater than 50 km/h, unless within a reserved bicycle lane.
- Obey all rules of the road and ride defensively.
- Be safe and be seen – wearing reflective and light-coloured clothing at night, dawn and dusk can help drivers see you.
- Use crosswalks.
- Make eye contact with motorists before crossing the road.
- Walk on the left side of the road facing oncoming vehicles when a sidewalk isn’t available.
Remember, whether you’re getting into your vehicle, motorcycle, bike, or an e-scooter, do not travel if impaired by alcohol or drugs. Impaired driving can be deadly to you and others. Instead:
- Have a designated driver
- Take public transportation, a taxi, or a rideshare service
- Call a family member or friend
- Stay overnight
Although it could take an extra minute to arrive at your destination, respecting the rules of the road and travelling cautiously keeps the lives of our community members safe. It is a minimal investment of your time. We all have a responsibility and role to play in road safety.
Together, let’s make the rest of the summer a memorable one – for all the right reasons. Think Safety, Act Safely!