Modes of Transportation – On a Bicycle

What the Law Says

When cycling, rules apply, such as obeying signs and signals and traffic lights. Some things are also prohibited, like riding on sidewalks—except in case of necessity or where directed or authorized to do so by a sign or signal—and riding while wearing earphones or headphones, or while texting. If you commit an offence under the Highway Safety Code, you could receive a fine.

Obligations

Under the Highway Safety Code, cyclists must, among other things:

Obey traffic signs and signals

Cyclists must obey traffic signs and traffic lights at all times. For example, they must come to a complete stop at a red light or stop sign, even if the way is clear.

At a red light, they must wait for the light to turn green again before continuing, or wait for the pedestrian light. In this case, cyclists are allowed to continue on the condition that they:

  • stop and make sure that they can proceed without danger
  • yield the right of way to pedestrians (that is, let the pedestrians that are in the intersection go first)
  • move at a safe and reasonable speed

Important: Cyclists may not cross at a pedestrian crossing where traffic signs prohibit them from doing so.

The Crossing Prohibited for Cyclists at a Pedestrian Signal sign indicates to cyclists that they are prohibited from crossing during the phase reserved for pedestrians where an intersection has pedestrian signals.

If an intersection contains a traffic sign prohibiting right turns at a red light, cyclists are prohibited from turning right when the light is red, even if a pedestrian light is on.

Sign with an arrow curved to the right with a red diagonal bar through it that is set above a red traffic light. This sign indicates that it is prohibited to turn right when the traffic light is red.

Yield the right of way

At a pedestrian crossing, stop as soon as a pedestrian enters the crosswalk or clearly indicates the intention to do so, for example, by waiting on the sidewalk next to the pedestrian crosswalk, by making a hand gesture indicating the desire to cross, by establishing eye contact, etc.

At an intersection, yield the right of way to pedestrians, vehicles and other cyclists that have priority.

Stop at least 5 metres from a school bus or minibus with its flashing red lights or stop sign in operation, and do not proceed until the red lights are off and the stop sign is retracted.

Ride on the right side

Ride as close as possible to the right side of the roadway, taking into account the condition of the road and the risk of doors opening, and in the same direction as traffic. Cyclists can leave this position:

  • to make a left turn
  • if they are authorized to ride against traffic
  • in case of necessity

On the shoulder, ride in the same direction as traffic or the direction indicated by traffic signs.

Signal intentions

Signal your intentions without interruption and over a sufficient distance to make sure that other users have seen you, unless doing so endangers your safety.

Ride in single file

In a group, ride in single file (not side by side):

  • a group can be made up of 15 cyclists, maximum
  • if there are more than 15 cyclists, form a new group

Sit properly on the bicycle

Cyclists must ride astride the bicycle (one leg on each side) and hold the handlebars.

Prohibitions

The Highway Safety Code prohibits cyclists from riding:

  • on highways and on their access and exit ramps
  • against the flow of traffic, unless signs indicate otherwise or in case of necessity
  • on sidewalks, except in case of necessity or where directed or authorized to do so by a sign or signal. In such a case, the cyclist must ride at a low speed and give pedestrians the right of way.
  • between two lanes of moving vehicles, unless the right lane is reserved for right turns
  • while wearing earphones or headphones that cover one or both ears
  • while using a portable electronic device, hand held or not
  • while viewing information displayed on a display screen, unless all of the following conditions are met:
    • the information is relevant to riding or related to the operation of the bicycle's usual equipment
    • the screen is integrated into the bicycle or mounted on a bracket
    • the screen is positioned in such a way that the cyclist can operate and consult it easily
  • while performing any action that can distract the cyclist from safely riding the bicycle
  • a bicycle with a faulty brake system

It is also prohibited:

  • to carry a passenger, except if the bicycle is equipped with a seat designed for that purpose
  • to ride while carrying a passenger, animal or object that obstructs vision or interferes with the proper handling of the bicycle
  • to drink alcohol while riding a bicycle
  • to use drugs, except for over-the-counter medications or medications other than cannabis that have been prescribed by an authorized professional

Offences: fines

Examples of offences Penalties

Failing to stop at a red light or stop sign

$80 to $100

Turning right at a red light where prohibited by a sign

$80 to $100

Failing to yield the right of way at an intersection to users who have priority

$80 to $100

Riding with earphones or headphones that cover one or both ears

$80 to $100

Riding while using a portable electronic device—whether hand held or not—unless it displays information that is relevant to riding a bicycle, in which case it must be mounted on a bracket that is attached to the bicycle $80 to $100

Failing to signal one's intentions, unless it is dangerous to do so

$80 to $100

Riding two on a bicycle without a fixed seat for that purpose

$80 to $100