Skip to main content Skip to Navigation Skip to Footer
page banner image

Rules of the Road

Safety is everyone’s responsibility. It can only be achieved if road users follow the law. Pay attention to your own actions and to other people’s actions around you.


Under Ontario Highway Traffic Act, a bicycle is a vehicle, just like a car or truck. This means cyclists must obey all traffic laws, signs and signals. Essentially, cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists do.

As a cyclist, you must stay on the right side of the road. Cyclists are more visible to motorists when riding in the curb lane of a street. You can ride on most roads, unless you intend to cross a road with a pedestrian cross-over. In this instance, you must walk your bike to the other side. Children under 12 can ride on the sidewalks and must walk their bike across a road with a pedestrian cross-over.

By law, your bicycle must have a bell, a white front light and a red rear light or reflector when you ride between one-half hour before sunset and one-half hour after sunrise. As well, the law requires white reflective strips on the front forks and red reflective strips on the rear stays. Mirrors, although not mandatory, are a good accessory to have on your bicycle.

Ride your bicycle in a smooth and predictable manner. Look ahead to allow time to calmly avoid obstacles. Communicate your intentions and signal before changing lanes or direction. Avoid abrupt maneuvers whenever possible. Anticipate not only your actions, but the actions of others. The best way to communicate your intentions with other drivers is to get their attention with eye contact.


Motorists should always be vigilant and reduce their speed when approaching a cyclist. Drive courteously and with tolerance: That cyclist is your neighbour and you are sharing the same road.

Only pass cyclists when it is safe to do so. The law requires motorists to give a 1 metre space between the cyclist and the vehicle. If this cannot be done, the motorist must wait behind the cyclist until it is safe to pass.