Modes of Transportation – On a Bicycle

Bicycles and Accessories: Visibility and Safety

When cycling, many accessories are mandatory, such as reflectors. Others are strongly recommended, like rearview mirrors, pennants and helmets.

Mandatory visibility accessories for bicycles

  1. Front white reflector
  2. One of the following visibility accessories on the front wheel:
    • an amber or white reflector attached to the spokes and visible on both sides of the bicycle
    • a tire with reflective sidewalls
    • a rim with a continuous reflective strip around the entire circumference of the wheel on both sides

    If there are no reflectors on the front wheel, you must attach an amber or white reflective strip on each side of the fork

  3. Rear red reflector
  4. One of the following visibility accessories on the rear wheel:
    • a red or white reflector attached to the spokes and visible on both sides of the bicycle
    • a tire with reflective sidewalls
    • a rim with a continuous reflective strip around the entire circumference of the wheel on both sides


    If there are no reflectors on the rear wheel, you must attach a red or white reflective strip on each seat stay

  5. Amber or white reflectors on each pedal. If the pedals are not equipped with such reflectors, the cyclist must wear a reflective band around each ankle or shoes with reflective strips

Bicycle dealers are required to equip any bicycle they sell with these visibility accessories, except the amber or white reflectors required for the pedals if the bicycle is equipped with clipless pedals or if it is delivered without pedals. Note that when a bicycle is equipped with clipless pedals or delivered without pedals, dealers are not required to provide the client with reflective ankle bands or shoes with reflective strips.

Warning

If you are riding your bike in the dark, watch out!

The Highway Safety Code requires the following accessories to be installed:

  • a white headlight or light, which may be flashing
  • a red taillight, which may be flashing

Side view of a cyclist riding a bicycle equipped with a white front headlight shining on the road at night and a red reflector that reflects light at the rear

Bicycle dealers are not required to equip bicycles with a white headlight or light or a red taillight

You are responsible for installing these lights if you want to ride your bike at night or in dark weather conditions.

Additional visibility accessories for you and your bike

For other road users to be able to see you more easily, we recommend that you wear brightly coloured clothing or, even better, reflective strips, and that you equip your bicycle with additional visibility accessories:

  • a vest
  • reflective strips on wheels rims, the bike frame and panniers
  • reflective pant clips
  • reflective tires

Bike helmets: because you only have one head

Although helmets are not mandatory, except for those riding electric bikes, they remain the best safety accessory for cyclists.

Learn more about how to adjust your helmet in our section entitled One Head, One Helmet.

Warning

Electric bikes: helmets are mandatory

If you are riding an electric bike, the Highway Safety Code requires that you wear a bike helmet.

A bicycle in good working order is key

Before setting out, make sure:

  • that your tires have the recommended tire pressure. Soft tires require more effort when pedalling and increase the risk of a flat tire or a broken wheel
  • that the brakes are in good condition. They should be powerful enough to quickly block the rear wheel on dry, flat pavement
  • that the chain does not slip and is sufficiently oiled
  • that the bike is equipped with mandatory visibility accessories

Recommended accessories

For increased safety, you can equip your bike with additional accessories such as:

  • a bell or horn that lets you alert pedestrians and other cyclists of your presence
  • a rearview mirror. Even if you have a rearview mirror, don't forget to look over your shoulder before performing any manoeuvre
  • a basket or rack for carrying your belongings safely and conveniently
  • a pennant or flag mounted on the side or rear of your bike:
    • a horizontal pennant on the side of your bike can encourage passing vehicles to remain at a safe distance
    • a vertical pennant at the rear of your bike or bicycle trailer will allow other road users to see you from farther away

Choosing a frame and adjusting the seat and handlebars

Frames that are too big hinder balance and are the cause of many accidents, especially among children.

To check whether the height of the frame is correct

Stand astride the bike and place both feet flat on the ground. There should be a clearance of at least 2 centimetres between your crotch and the crossbar.

To check whether the height of the seat is correct

Since the seat is parallel to the ground, you should place your heel on the lower pedal. Your leg should be completely extended with the heel on the pedal; this will allow the knee to be slightly bent when the foot is in the pedalling position.

Useful information

Have your bike engraved to discourage theft

For stolen bikes to be more easily identified, it is recommended that you have an identification number engraved on your bike frame by the police department, which will keep this number in its database.

To find out how to have your bike engraved, contact your local police department.