Modes of Transportation – On a Bicycle

Winter Biking

Do you already ride your bike in winter, or do you intend to start? To safely enjoy riding your bike in winter, follow these tips:

Tires fit for winter roads

  • Choose tires that are adaptable to the surfaces you encounter when riding in winter. Different types of tires are available for winter biking (studded tires, mountain bike tires, cyclocross tires).
  • Reduce air pressure in your tires to optimize traction, while maintaining the minimum air pressure indicated by the tire manufacturer. Check the side of the tire to find out the recommended air pressure.

Better visibility

It gets dark earlier during winter months. For your safety, and as required by the Highway Safety Code, equip your bike with:

  • a white headlight or light in the front
  • a red taillight

Keep the equipment on your bike so that it can be used at all times.

For better visibility both during the day and at night:

  • wear clothes and accessories that are brightly coloured or, even better, reflective or equipped with lights (e.g. backpack or helmet equipped with a light);
  • equip your bike with additional visibility accessories.

Since drivers might not expect to see cyclists on winter roads, make sure you can be easily seen!

Adapted driving

Just like when driving a car, riding a bike in winter requires you to adapt.

  • Be extra careful and watch out for icy patches.
  • Avoid braking quickly and slow down gradually, giving yourself more time and distance to stop.
  • Avoid quick manoeuvres and keep a slow and steady pace.
  • Make slow turns and avoid leaning too far in order to counter the lack of traction.
  • Slow down and be careful on metal surfaces, sewer grates, markings on the pavement and railway tracks, which can be slippery.
  • Make sure you can properly see traffic at intersections and be seen by other road users before proceeding. Snowbanks may obstruct vision.
  • Be extra cautious around piles of snow on the side of the road, as they reduce the width of the lane and increase the risk of interaction with vehicles.
  • Avoid riding on roads that are being cleared. That way, you can avoid finding yourself beside snow removal vehicles with significant blind spots.

Increased safety

  • Regularly carry out mechanical inspections of your bicycle: snow, slush, salt and sand can deteriorate your bike parts.
  • Put a flag on your bike: flags can encourage drivers to keep enough distance to pass cyclists.
  • Have a warning device or bell on your bike to signal your presence to pedestrians and other cyclists.
  • Install a rear-view mirror, preferably on the left side, so you can see what is approaching behind you.

Last update: January 26, 2021