Bike Riding Etiquette and Safety

October 22, 2020, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

Bike sales in Ontario have surged since we entered the COVID-19 pandemic period in March this year. Many people did not feel safe on public transit, or their transit services were not running where and when they needed them. Others looking for ways to spend time outdoors exercising took bike riding back up. Still others simply wanted an excuse to leave their homes and see something other than the walls of their houses.


This surge in new riders, along with the surge in people walking and running outdoors has led to some conflicts and confusion about biking etiquette. Let's run through the basics.

  1. Bikes are considered vehicles under the Highway Traffic Act and must follow the rules of the road. You must obey all traffic laws, you have the same rights and obligations as drivers.
  2. You must stay as close to the edge of the road as practical when being passed.
  3. You can ride on any road except controlled-access highways (the 400 series for example)
  4. If you are riding on a multiuse trail you should approach slower traffic from the rear and ring your bell to indicate your presence. You can call out that you are planning to pass them as a courtesy as well. You should never attempt to scare anyone else on a trail, nor to pass them unsafely.
  5. Make sure you are wearing and using the correct safety gear. The law requires you have:
  6. A helmet
    1. A bell or a horn
    2. A white front light and a red rear light or reflector
    3. White reflective tape on the front forks and red reflective tape on the back forks
  7. Optional equipment could include:
    1. A safety flag horizontally 
    2. A vertical safety flag
    3. A rearview mirror
    4. Reflective or hi-viz clothing
  8. Ride sober
  9. Make sure your bike is the correct size and the brakes work.
  10. Signal your turns and lane changes
  11. Obey all stop signs and lights
  12. Use caution when riding in traffic. Assume the cars have not seen you and ride defensively. 
  13. Take care of doors opening suddenly when you are riding around parked cars.


The MTO has released a great booklet called Cycling Skills that you can download. It has tips and techniques for all kinds of road cycling that even seasoned riders may find useful.


If you are riding your bike take care and keep up the good work. It’s fun, fast and super exercise. 





Posted under Accident Benefit News, Automobile Accident Benefits, Bicycle Accidents

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