Safe Cycling

Bicycle rules and safety tips

Cycle safe! Cycle Smart!

Rules of the road, helmet information and safety tips for cyclists of all ages.


Cycling Guides

Definition of bicycle

A bicycle, or bike, is a vehicle that:

  • has 1, 2 or 3 wheels (a unicycle, bicycle or tricycle)
  • has steering handlebars and pedals
  • does not have a motor.

Licence and registration

Bicycles do not require:

  • registration
  • licence plates
  • vehicle insurance or
  • a driver’s licence.

People of all ages can ride a bike.


Rules of the Road

As a cyclist, you must share the road with others (e.g., cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, etc.).

Under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA), a bicycle is a vehicle, just like a car or truck. Cyclists:

  • must obey all traffic laws
  • have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers
  • cannot carry passengers — if your bicycle is only meant for one person.

Riding on the right

You must stay as close to the right edge of the road whenever possible, especially if you’re slower than other traffic.


Where you can ride

You can ride on most roads, except:

  • controlled access highways, such as Ontario’s 400-series highways
  • across a road within a pedestrian cross-over - you must walk your bike to the other side.

Helmets

Children and youth

By law, every cyclist must wear an approved helmet, if they are under 18 years old.

Riders under 16 years old: a parent or guardian must make sure their child/children wear helmets.


Adults

Helmets are not compulsory for adults over 18; but a helmet can greatly reduce the risk of permanent injury or death if you fall or collide. It is strongly recommended that all riders wear helmets.


Types of helmets

The best helmets:

  • are made to meet strict safety standards
  • fit properly when worn correctly.

Cycling safety resources

For more information about cycling safety, check out: