Kids in helmets: check.
Air in tires: check.
Snacks, water, wipes and sunscreen: check and check.
For Ottawa mother Caitlin Charter, taking her two children out for a spin on the bikes is never as simple as it looks.
Everything from the weather to potential accidents have to be anticipated -- and that’s before her little family hits the bike path.
“We love getting outside and the kids really thrive in Ottawa’s green spaces, but it can be a challenge to get them ready and both pointing in the same direction at the same time, no matter how organized I am,” she says.
And, at ages 4 and 9, her two kids are still not only learning how to drive a bike, but about bike safety, too.
Fortunately, she has the inside track on everything to do with bicycling, safety, discounts on the best gear in CAA Stores and getting help when you need it most.
As CAA North & East Ontario’s Membership Marketing Manager, Caitlin is something of a subject matter expert.
“When we’re out, I’m always thinking about bike safety and ensuring the kids don’t get hurt, so it’s important to educate them about the environment they’re cycling into, what other people are doing and even watching out for animals, like Canada Geese along the parkway. CAA has a whole host of information on their website and stores that can help guide those conversations with kids,” she says.
Once out on the roads, the thought of being stranded with the kids and a broken-down bicycle doesn’t worry her. All levels of CAA Membership – including Rewards – comes with roadside help for bikes, called Bike Assist, as part of the roadside service.
Getting a helping hand is as simple as making the call to CAA, or through the CAA Mobile App. As long as the bike is accessible by road, the CAA truck will come and, depending on the issue, either do a repair or tow the bike. There are some exclusions – drivers can’t cut bike locks – but details are all available through https://caaneo.ca/bike-assist. Plus, for a limited time, anyone who joins online can save 10%*.
There’s another aspect to road safety that Caitlin is passionate about: sharing the road. After losing her husband in a motorcycle accident in 2019, she says she’s on a one-person crusade to educate drivers about shoulder checking and keeping other road users in mind.
“I’ve experienced the importance of keeping your eyes and your mind on the road when there are motorcyclists and bicyclists around,” she says, adding that although there are fewer collisions because of the stay-at-home orders, 42 motorcyclists were killed in 2020, compared to 27 the year before.
Motorcycle season also means an uptick in roadside coverage, good for Canada and the US, which CAA provides to Members at the Plus and Premier levels. Motorized scooters and mopeds require the same coverage as regular motorcycles and trikes. (For more information, click here).
“I absolutely love summer and getting out with the kids is especially important this year for their mental health when we’re under so many public health restrictions,” she says, adding that “having that CAA Membership in my pocket or on my phone makes life a little bit better.”
*Terms and conditions apply