Client Groups

Bicycle and Electric Bicycle Safety for Seniors

Bicycle safety starts with obeying the Highway Safety Code and adopting defensive cycling behaviours. When riding an electric bike, wearing a helmet is mandatory. Be cautious!

In brief

The Highway Safety Code requires that cyclists:

  • obey traffic signs and signals and yield the right of way. Even if the way is clear, red lights and stop signs means that cyclists must come to a complete stop and wait for the green light before setting off again. Cyclists must also yield the right of way to any vehicle that occupies the lane they wish to enter
  • ride on the far right side of the road
  • ride in the same direction as traffic, unless signs authorize them to ride facing traffic
  • ride in a single file if they are part of a group of 2 or more. A maximum of 15 cyclists per group is authorized; larger groups must be divided into groups of 15 cyclists or less
  • equip their bicycles with mandatory lights and reflectors
  • signal their intentions using appropriate hand signals over a sufficient distance

Illustration of a cyclist seen from behind and using hand signals to communicate his intentions: 1. the left arm held out horizontally to signal a left turn; 2. the left forearm held up at a 90 degree angle to signal a right turn; 3. the right arm held out horizontally to signal a right turn; 4. the left arm held out low and diagonally to signal a stop.

The Code prohibits cyclists from:

  • riding on sidewalks, unless signs require them do to so
  • wearing headphones or earphones

See our section on What the Law Says.

Power-assisted cycles, commonly called “electric bikes”

Wearing a bicycle helmet and obeying road safety rules is mandatory when riding an electric bike.

Electric bikes and bike paths

Check with your municipality to know whether you can ride your electric bike on bike paths.

Properly adjusting your bicycle helmet

The helmet must not tilt too low on your forehead or the back of your head. There should be room for the width of two fingers between your eyebrows and the helmet. The straps should form a “Y” shape under the earlobes. A properly adjusted buckle should leave room for one finger between the strap and your chin.

Side view of the head of a cyclist wearing a helmet correctly, above a side view of the head of a cyclist wearing a helmet that is tilted too far backward

How to know whether your helmet meets standards

To be compliant, your helmet must display one of these acronyms: CSACanadian Standards Association, CPSCU. S. Consumer Product Safety Commision , ASTMAmerican Society for Testing and Materials, ENEuropean Committee for Standardization or SNELLSnell Memorial Foundation. These appear on the inside of the helmet or on its packaging and guarantee that the helmet meets performance standards, including resistance to impact.

See our section entitled One Head, One Helmet.

Blind spots, danger zones!

  • Pay attention to vehicle turn signal lights at intersections.
  • Be extra cautious and anticipate manoeuvres by heavy vehicles and those travelling at higher speeds.
  • Be cautious at intersections. Come to a stop well ahead or well behind a heavy vehicle, but never beside it.

Find out more about blind spots.

Sharing the road

When riding your bicycle on the road or a bike path, you must share the road with other users. Do so with respect and courtesy.

Riding at a Safe and Reasonable Speed

When going down a hill or on an electric bicycle, a cyclist can reach a considerable speed.

Even an excellent cyclist with an excellent bicycle is not immune to the laws of physics. When speed increases, the risks of causing an accident increase as well, and the higher the speed, the more severe the accident.

  • Speeding:
    • reduces your field of vision
    • increases braking distance
    • increases the time required to carry out emergency manoeuvres
    • increases the risk of skidding out of control
    • increases the force of impact

Last update: May 19, 2022