Apr 4, 2017
Warmer weather gives way to an influx of outdoor activity including cycling. Sunny skies see children and adults alike tuning up their two-wheelers to race off with the wind at their back.
While biking is a great activity that is low cost, healthy and environmentally friendly it is important to note that it is a method of transportation. A bicycle may not require a license, registration or plates, but, it is still considered a non-motorized vehicle that shares the road with cars and pedestrians. As such it does adhere to rules of the road in order to ensure the safety of not only the cyclist but others on the roadways as well.
Under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA) a bicycle is a vehicle and therefore cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other drivers. Anyone riding a bike must obey traffic laws and adhere to the following rules:
- A cyclist cannot carry passengers unless the bicycle is designed for more than one person
- A cyclist must ride on the right hand side of the road staying close to the edge whenever possible as well as riding in a straight line avoiding weaving in between parked cars
- A cyclist cannot ride on controlled access highways, such as Ontario's 400-series highways or across a cross-walk (you must walk your bike to the other side)
- Cyclists must use hand signals when turning or stopping and obey stop signs and traffic signals along with the flashing lights of school buses similar to all other vehicles
- Cyclists under the age of 18 must wear an approved helmet by law (helmets are not compulsory for adults but strongly recommended for safety); if the rider is under 16 then a parent or guardian must ensure a helmet is being worn.Riders required by law to wear helmet can face a $75 fine for not wearing a helmet
In order to ride safely there are few other tips to keep in mind when cycling:
Wear protective equipment
First and foremost a helmet is the most vital piece of safety equipment for a cyclist. It is the best protection in the event of a fall or collision. When selecting a helmet it is important to ensure that it is made to meet strict safety standards and that that it fits properly and is worn correctly. In addition to a helmet protective gear such as elbow pads and knee pads are also beneficial. As well, wear bright or reflective clothing when cycling at night.
Cyclists who are also environmentalists may wish to consider the purchase and use of an EcoHelmet. Set to launch this year, the EcoHelmet is an inexpensive folding helmet constructed from waterproof recycled paper that absorbs impact as effectively as traditional polystyrene. For more information on this unique helmet visit www.ecohelmet .com.
A Safe and Legal Ride
All bicycles are not made equal which is why it is important for a cyclist to ensure that the bike is the right size in order for it to be properly controlled. A bicycle must be the correct frame size and length with the proper seat and brake levers being at the correct height and reach.
By law all bicycles must be equipped with lights and reflectors mounted at the front and back of the bicycle, a bell or horn and reflective tape on the front forks and rear stays. Non-compliance with the legal requirement for reflectors can result in a $20 fine.
Three Point Inspection
A vehicle inspection is equally as important with a bicycle as it is with a car. Before riding it is important to check that tires have enough air; that brakes are working properly; and that the chain is on properly and is well lubricated. It is also a good idea to lift the bike a few inches off the ground and then drop it to ensure nothing is loose.
Further information and resources about bicycle safety can be found on the Ontario Ministry of Transportation website.
Following these safety tips and obeying the rules of the road are the best measures for a cyclist to take when riding. In the event of an accident resulting in personal injury, feel free to contact our team at The Morris Group to discuss your rights.