If you’re interested in taking advantage of the bike share program in your city, but not sure what the etiquette is, we’ve got you covered. Check out our tips on using bike-share programs, and learn how to get the most out of your two-wheel commute!
Before your ride
Most bike share programs don’t include helmets, which means you’ll need to bring your own. In Ontario, helmets are not mandatory (except for those 18 and under) — but experts say this crucial gear can protect you from permanent injury, and even death. In fact, one international study found that bike helmets can reduce the risk of serious head injuries by nearly 70%.
A good helmet should fit snugly on your head, and not shift around while riding. Make sure chin straps allow no more than two fingers of space. The City of Toronto offers a good resource on helmet safety, including tips on how to purchase the right one.
Wear the proper clothing
Street clothes are generally fine, just make sure your pants aren’t loose at the ankles. Trousers can get caught while riding and become a falling hazard. Wearing closed-toed shoes always wear closed-toed shoes as pedalling in sandals can be dangerous.
Pack the essentials
If you’re planning to commute to work or an event, you’ll want to pack a few things for your ride. Whether you’re taking a ride around the corner or across town, commuting by bike is a workout. You’ll likely want to change your clothes (or at least freshen up) before mingling with others.
A few essentials will make the transition from bike to boardroom a lot easier. Fill a small backpack with:
- Extra toiletries, such as facial wipes and deodorant
- Soap, shampoo and a towel (if you plan to shower after your ride)
- Change of clothes, including an extra shirt and pants
Understand how the system works
Bike-share programs may operate a bit differently from city to city, but the concept is generally the same. You can purchase a pass at a station kiosk, or navigate the program through a smartphone app. In Toronto, commuters can enjoy 30 minutes of unlimited riding. After that, overage fees apply.
Check your bike
Although program officials do regular checks to ensure safety, always give the bike a once-over before hopping on. Be sure to:
- Check that each tire is fully inflated
- Adjust the seat to make sure it’s straight
- Ensure brake cables are working properly; check for resistance
If you find issues, alert customer service. In the meantime, select a different bike for your ride.