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Published May 30, 2021

Cycling in Ontario offers endless challenges. Stay safe this summer season.

Warmer weather in Ottawa means the general public will be enjoying the various parks around the city and taking part in more seasonal cycling. Sure, cycling is a great way to get some exercise. However, it’s also a primary means of transportation for many Ottawans. Many people living in the National Capital Region are unaware that cycling in Ontario comes with great responsibilities. These responsibilities are similar to driving a car. In fact, many of the fines and penalties attributed to improper cycling are the same for drivers in Ontario.

Under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act (HTA), a bicycle is considered a vehicle, just like a car or truck. The pastime has its own set of rules that must be followed. Ahead of a busy summer cycling season, this blog reminds cyclists of the Ontario laws they must abide by. Additionally, it recaps the potential fines that cyclists could incur by breaking the rules. Ultimately, rules and guidelines are put in place to ensure the safety of drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists themselves.

Before you head out on your bike this summer, remember these important laws that are often overlooked by the general public.

Cycling in Ontario: Important reminders for the general public

Cyclists in Ottawa should be reminded of the many bicycle traffic signals they must follow at intersections with both drivers and pedestrians present. Should a busy intersection have dedicated bicycle traffic signals, these signals must be followed, regardless of what standard traffic signals are displayed to those driving motor vehicles. These signals are designed to help guide the flow of traffic through busy intersections and offer cyclists dedicated turn signals, and in some instances, their own lane for traffic. Failure to abide by these bicycle traffic signals could result in a hefty fine which is identical to what a driver of a motor vehicle could expect.

As for drivers sharing the road with cyclists, they must follow what is known as the one-metre passing law. Drivers that pass cyclists on a shared roadway must give cyclists one metre of space. This space is between their own vehicle and the cyclist they are passing. Failure to do so could result in an $85 ticket to the driver of the motor vehicle.

“Dooring” is another unfortunate incident that occurs all too frequently in cities across Canada. Dooring a cyclist occurs when a driver of a parked car suddenly swings their car door open and catches a cyclist by surprise. The resulting collision can be devastating to the cyclist, sometimes resulting in traumatic injuries. Most dooring-related offences result in a $365 fine to the driver along with three demerit points. However, there is speculation that this type of incident will see increased fines and penalties in the near future.

Cycling in Ontario and often-forgotten fines. Stay in the know.

Cyclists are also subject to a number of fines in relation to the proper use and maintenance of their bicycles in line with the Highway Traffic Act. Many of these fines are identical to the fines that traditional drivers face.

Keep these tips in mind to ensure you avoid a costly fine on your next cycling trip. These are some of the most overlooked penalties that every cyclist should know.

The most overlooked penalties include:

  • Lights and Reflective Material (Section 62): All cyclists must have a white light on the front of their bike, and a red or reflective light on the rear of the bike; if the rider is planning on riding their bike a half hour before or after sunrise or sunset. Furthermore, white reflective tape is required on the bike’s front forks and red reflective tape on the rear forks. This violation comes with a $110 fine.
  • Working Breaks (Section 64): Bikes must have at least one functioning brake on the rear wheel. Failure to comply could result in a $110 fine.
  • Horn/Alarm (Section 75): A cyclist’s bike must have a working bell or horn. Failure to comply with this law could result in a $110 fine.
  • Pedestrian Crossovers (Section 140): Should a cyclist fail to yield at a pedestrian crossover, the cyclist is subject to the same fine as a driver of a motor vehicle, and this could range between $150 to $500.Keep in mind that crossovers are different from traditional crosswalks, and cyclists and drivers are always required to yield to pedestrians in these circumstances.

Not forgetting:

  • Turn Signals (Section 142): Cyclists are required to signal their intentions to turn at an intersection by extending their right arm horizontally, and vertically should they be turning left. Failure to do so could result in a fine of $110 and two demerit points.
  • Walking Your Bike Along A Road (Section 179): Cyclists must follow the direction of traffic just in the same way as a vehicle would. However, when a cyclist is walking their bike along a road, they are considered a pedestrian. In this case, cyclists walking their bikes are required to walk their bike on the side of the road that is facing traffic, unless crossing across the road is considered to be unsafe. Failure to comply with this law could result in a $35 fine.

Need assistance with cycling accident claims? MG Law can help.

MG Law is highly experienced in addressing the complications from cycling accident claims. Serious cycling accidents are complicated by nature and are best addressed by professional legal counsel. Should you be the unfortunate victim of a cycling accident, MG Law can fight for what is rightfully yours. Furthermore, MG Law can help address issues of being subject to a cycling accident claim.

You aren’t alone during these difficult matters. Call MG Law at (613) 730-8460 and begin addressing your cycling accident claims as soon as possible.

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