Ways Bicyclists Can Improve Safety
Bicycles are considered vehicles under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, and have the same rights and responsibilities on public roadways as motorists. Bicyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles. When you as a bicyclist fail to obey the rules of the road, you lose the support of motorists. Do your part by being a good ambassador for bicycling!
Follow Rules of the Road
- Obey all traffic laws, signs and signals.
Ride on the Right
- Always ride in the same direction as traffic, far enough from the road edge to keep a straight line.
- Ride single file when being passed.
- You may occupy any part of a lane when your safety warrants it, e.g. to avoid obstacles, or if the lane isn’t wide enough to safely pass.
- Ride in a straight line – don’t weave around obstacles.
- Stay about one metre from the edge/curb or parked cars to avoid hazards.
- Use hand signals to communicate turns and stops to other road users.
- Wear brightly coloured clothing, including reflectors.
- Use lights in low light conditions (red rear, white front).
- Stay out of motorists’ blind spots – especially truck drivers.
- Make eye contact with motorists – it’s the best way to know they see you.
- When riding in groups, leave gaps to allow space for motorists or other bicyclists to pass.
- Acknowledge motorists with a wave when they’ve passed you safely.
- Yield to pedestrians. Warn others with a ring of your bell or friendly greeting before passing.
Take Care of Your Gear and Yourself
- Anticipate the next move of drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists. Watch for debris, potholes and grates.
- Your bike is a machine and works best and safest when it is well-maintained. Tires need air, brakes must work, chains should run smoothly and quick release wheel levers must be closed.
- Carry identification, a cell phone, emergency cash and repair and emergency supplies.
- If you are a beginner or returning to bicycling, seek out clubs or bicycling advocacy organizations for tips on safe riding, instruction and group rides to improve knowledge and skill.
- Wear a helmet and make sure it fits correctly.