Posted by Editoress on 05/10/11
CAA Manitoba is being proactive with bicycles; launching two new programs:
CAA Manitoba members can now call for road side assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week when their bike chain breaks or a tire tube pops.
Available beginning today, Bike Assist is an innovative new benefit that allows CAA members to use any of their four annually allotted service calls to receive road side assistance if their bike breaks down. Members can use the service to be transported home or to the bike repair shop of their choice.
Mike Mager, President and CEO of CAA Manitoba, says with more than 198,000 members, it is important to recognize the changing transportation needs of all members - no matter how they chose to go.
"For the first time in Manitoba, our always reliable roadside assistance is now available for bikes, too," Mager said. "Whether you're an avid cyclist who commutes to work to save money on gas, or a casual biker that runs into trouble on the trail, CAA now has all of your wheels covered."
Jean-Francios Ravenelle, Owner and operator of Gord's Ski and Bike, says his customers are excited about the Bike Assist service.
"It's a fact. Commuters are increasingly looking at alternative options for getting to work," said Ravenelle. "Our Donald location is especially busy most mornings in the summer when bikers and cyclists pop in for a quick tune up on their way into Downtown."
A Fact Sheet on Bike Assist can be read Here.
Watch for Bikes
In an effort to increase awareness about how easy it is for cyclists and motorists to have accidents, CAA Manitoba is launching an awareness campaign that provides motorists with small plastic decals that say "Watch for Bikes" - specifically designed to be placed on their driver's side rear-view mirror.
According to police-reported data, in 2009 there were 239 bicyclists involved in collisions with a motor vehicle in Manitoba. (Source: 2009 Traffic Collisions Statistics, published by MPI, Table 7-3, page 124). It's a statistic President and CEO of CAA Manitoba Mike Mager says could be lower if cyclists and motorists knew how to safely share the road.
"A cyclist can be virtually invisible from inside a car," said Mager. "When motorists place this sticker on their mirror, it provides a constant reminder to check for cyclists and other traffic."
Cam Lundgren, an avid cyclist who enjoys commuting to work, has had several close calls with cars.
"When a driver opens their door without checking, it's what cyclists call the 'door prize'," said Lundgren. "Last summer I came within inches of getting this 'gift'. I'm an experienced cyclist - so I know it can happen to anyone!"
Dan Vandal, City Councilor responsible for Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works, says the city is working hard to continually develop and improve the alternative infrastructure networks. He says education about how to safely share the road will always be important.
"No matter how many kilometres of bike lanes and trails are built in Winnipeg, cars and bikes still need to respect each other and safely share the road," Vandal said. "With more bikes on the road during the summer - and even more on the road once school is out at the end of June, Watch for Bikes is a simple way to remind motorists to look twice before they change lanes or open their car door."
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