Cycling Safety at the Forefront, MPI Warns to Watch for Blind Spots

Cyclists and motorists safely sharing the road can be risky at times, but Manitoba Public Insurance wants to ensure both parties know what to watch for when out and about.

MPI says nearly 250 cyclists are injured and three are killed annually. That’s why the public auto insurer held a safety demonstration Thursday to show the dangers of vehicle blind spots and how cyclists can avoid a collision.

“Turning and side-swipe collisions are two of the most common collisions involving cyclists, according to claims data,” said MaryAnn Kempe of MPI.

“Maintaining visibility is vital to preventing these types of collisions — especially when it comes to large vehicles. If cyclists and motorists can see each other, then these types of collisions could be avoided. From a cyclist’s perspective, if you cannot see the driver from where you are on the road, then you also need to assume that they cannot see you.”

The public awareness campaign comes just days after a 69-year-old man cycling to a Winnipeg Blue Bombers game on Monday was hit and killed by a vehicle on Pembina Highway.

MPI data shows there was an average of 269 bicycle-motor vehicle collisions from 2007-2011, with the majority (98.4 percent) occurring in urban centres.

Dave Elmore, master instructor at CAN-Bike, says a bike rider should never pass a vehicle on the right or position themselves to the right of vehicles at an intersection.

“In this position you put yourself at risk of the driver not knowing that you are there and turning right into you as you try to proceed straight through the intersection. All passing should be done on the left.”

About one in 10 cycling collisions took place when the vehicle, or cyclist, was making a left turn across an intersection.