Cycling is a fun, healthy and inexpensive way to get around, whether you cycle to and from work or school, or recreationally on the weekends. You'll enjoy it most when your bicycle handling and traffic skills are in good shape.
Helmet Safety Tips
A helmet fits correctly when...
- It fits snugly and does not move around.
- It sits two finger-widths above your eyebrows.
- The straps meet in a 'V' just below your ears.
- You can place no more than two fingers between your chin and the strap.
Keep in mind...
- Cyclists under 18 must, by law, wear a helmet in Ontario.
- Helmets do not prevent falls or crashes; they only reduce injury in a crash. A cycling safety course will help you avoid crashes.
- It's unsafe to wear a hat under your helmet.
- Replace your bicycle helmet if it has received any strong impact-even if damage isn't visible on the outside-or if it is 5 years old.
- Your helmet should have a CSA, CPSC, Snell B-95, or N-94 certification sticker.
Rules of the Road
Bicycles are vehicles and cyclists have the same rights and duties as motorists!
Ontario Highway Traffic Act and the Ottawa Traffic and Parking Bylaw require the the following:
- Stop at all stop signs and red lights.
- Signal all lane changes, turns and stops.
- Cycle on the right side of the road.
- Ride only in the designated direction on one-way streets.
- It is unsafe and illegal to ride on the sidewalk.
- Share the road with other users.
- Use lights when riding at night
- Have a bell, gong, or horn on your bike
- Wear a helmet (required if under 18; see p.4)
- Use proper hand signalling when turning and stopping
Riding at night
- Riding at night is riding between ½ hour before sunset and ½ hour after sunrise.
- By law, when riding at night or in low visibility conditions, you need a white front light and a red rear reflector.
- Your bike must also have 25cm of white reflective tape on its front forks and 25cm of red reflective tape on the back.
- CfSC suggests you also use a red rear light and wear bright clothing with reflective elements.
- Never assume that other drivers see you. Near sunrise and sunset, and when the road is wet, glare can make you less visible.
Riding Tips for the Road
- Ride predictably and defensively.
- Ride in a straight line at least one metre from the curb or parked cars.
- You may occupy any part of a lane when your safety warrants it. Never compromise your safety just for the convenience of others.
- Shoulder check when you turn or change lanes.
- Give pedestrians the right-of-way.
- Dress to be visible.
- Keep your bicycle well maintained.
Riding Tips for the Pathways
- Keep to the right.
- Pass other users only when safe.
- Keep under the courtesy limit of 20 km/h; please use the road if you want to go faster.
- Use your bell or voice to warn others when you pass. Shoulder-check to see if the way is clear.
- Pull off the pathway when stopped.
- Look out for volunteer Pathway Patrollers in the summer if you need assistance.