Modes of Transportation – On a Bicycle

Safe Practices to Adopt

Being safe and obeying the Highway Safety Code are key when riding a bicycle. Certain habits can increase your safely while riding.

Basic rules

  • Ride in a straight line.
  • If there is more than one lane, ride in the right lane.
  • Before changing lanes or making a turn, signal your intention and make the manoeuvre only after checking to make sure that you can do so safely.
  • You may ride on public roads or on the shoulder, except on highways or access and exit ramps or where prohibited by traffic signs.
  • You must ride with the flow of traffic, except when riding against traffic is authorized or in case of necessity.

Riding along parked vehicles

  • Ride in a straight line. Do not zigzag between parked vehicles.
  • Keep an eye on:
    • vehicle taillights: if they switch on, the vehicle could begin moving soon
    • vehicle occupants: they could open a car door at any time

At intersections

Before entering an intersection, yield the right of way to pedestrians who are entering the intersection or clearly indicating the intention to do so, as well as cyclists and vehicles that are already crossing the intersection or that have the right of way.

At intersections with all-way stop signs

  • The first to come to a complete stop has the right of way, regardless of whether it is a cyclist, motorcyclist, motorist or heavy vehicle driver.
  • If another vehicle has the right of way, the cyclist can indicate that the other vehicle has the right of way by a hand signal.
  • If the cyclist has the right of way, before entering the intersection, the cyclist can make visual contact with the driver to ensure that he or she will yield the right of way.
  • If a pedestrian enters the intersection or clearly indicates the intention to do so, the cyclist must stop and let the pedestrian go by.

At intersections controlled by traffic lights

  • Watch out for light changes and get ready to stop, unless you are already in the intersection.
  • Watch out for vehicles travelling in the left lane or that are passing. They could cut you off when turning right. Be ready to avoid them.

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Be cautious at intersections

Blind Spots

Avoid placing yourself in a vehicle’s blind spots. Pay attention to the blind spots created by the windshield pillars on either side of the front of the vehicle. If the driver’s face is hidden by a pillar, that means the driver can’t see you. All types of vehicles have blind spots created by windshield pillars, not just SUVs or heavy vehicles.

Vehicles that are turning right

When turning right, motorists do not always check to see whether there are cyclists. Be extra cautious:

If a vehicle is turning right: stay behind it.

It is not recommended to pass a right-turning vehicle on the right side.

If the right lane is reserved for right turns, and you are continuing straight ahead, you can then ride in the lane that is not reserved for right turns. Before changing lanes:

  1. Look over your left shoulder to see whether the way is clear.Illustration of a cyclist checking over his left shoulder to see if there is a break in traffic before changing lanes.
  2. Signal your intention to go left. Illustration of a cyclist seen from the front, holding his left arm out horizontally to signal his intention to turn left.
  3. Look over your left shoulder again.Illustration of a cyclist checking over his left shoulder to see if there is a break in traffic before changing lanes.
  4. Change lanes.

Sidewalks, Driveways and Parking Entrances

Collisions between cyclists and motorists can occur where sidewalks, driveways and parking entrances meet the roadway.

Be especially careful of drivers that are pulling out of driveways or parking spaces or lots. They may not see you coming.

Riding in groups

  • Ride in a single file in groups of no more than 15 cyclists (requirement of the Highway Safety Code).
  • Maintain a safety margin of at least 1 metre between cyclists.
  • Increase the safety margin before going down a hill.
  • As much as possible, use cycling infrastructures, such as paved shoulders, bike lanes, shared roadways and bike paths. Be sure to ride in the direction indicated when using these infrastructures.

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Riding in groups

Bikeways Shared with Pedestrians

  • Pedal slowly.
  • Make your presence known when you are approaching from behind (bell, horn or your voice).
  • Be ready to stop and yield to pedestrians.

On a Bicycle: No Speeding!

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

Even the most experienced cyclists are subject 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.

  • Speed reduces your field of vision.
    • The faster you go, the more information is sent to your brain. But only a limited amount of information can be processed at a time.
    • Your field of vision decreases as speed increases.
  • Speed increases braking distance.
    • The greater the speed, the longer the braking distance. 
  • Speed increases the time required to carry out emergency manoeuvres.
    • The faster you are moving, the harder it becomes to avoid obstacles.
    • Riding more slowly can allow you to avoid colliding with a pedestrian who suddenly walks onto the road or an opening door. When riding faster, the possibility of avoiding the pedestrian or door is reduced.
  • Speed increases the risk of skidding out of control.
    • Riding fast increases the risk of losing control of your bicycle, especially when the road is wet or covered in sand (especially in the spring).
  • Speeding increases the force of impact.
    • During an accident, the bicycle stops abruptly and the cyclist is thrown to the ground. The higher the speed, the more severe the impact.